Saturday, June 19, 2010

HANNAH ROSIN ENDS MEN

Here’s Hannah Rosin in ‘The Atlantic’ (and the loudly-self-advertised “Ideas Issue” at that) proclaiming “The End of Men” in a lengthy piece. It is not, be assured, a “report” but then how many PC pieces really are? Or can afford to be?

I once read this venerable mag for solid thinking and genuine ideas and substantive observations. It’s come under new management and let nothing further be said about that. But it’s still worthwhile now to see what PC is thinking, and what PC would like Us to think.

The scam is to tell you what is ‘happening’ or has already ‘happened’ so that you can align your thoughts Correctly. So that maybe if you can get enough people to do this, then maybe ‘It’ will eventually happen.

This wouldn’t work if you were – say – trying to levitate a hippopotamus half a mile into the air; no matter how many believers you got gathered around Thinking Intensely and Focusing their ‘Energy’, you would not get the hippo airborne.

But of course the whole reason that the Feminist Revolution (as it has evolved in the hands of its Advocates and Cadres, with the pandering enabling provided by vote-addled pols) has managed to get so far is that it has appealed to the sense of the ‘possible’ that lies at the heart of the American worldview (minus the practicality) and at the heart of the groovy dreaminess that existed at the heart of the Boomers in both their dope-stoked Flower-Child and their revolution-addled Change-the-World variants.

And the ‘soft sciences’, the language studies and cultural studies departments, and the muzzy universe of the cottage-industry self-helpers … they all provide exactly the mushy, opinion-and-feeling play-dough milieu where this sort of stuff can pass for ‘thinking’ and where neither reality nor Reality will provide pesky speedbumps against the Great Leap to Perfection’s Utopia.
And to a professional propagandist – think Goebbels before Stalingrad, Mao before his officially-created famines, and Stalin at any point – this is mother’s milk: playing with public Feelings and Opinion, manipulating it like cattle are shaped in the maze of fencing in a meat-processor’s stockyard.

Such is Our modern American reality. And if you were wondering why the Constitution was considered so fungible by the Bush-Cheney wanna-be World Rulers and History-Makers, you have to go back several decades before them to all the spade-work (digging vigorously to undermine existing foundations) done by the Feminist Revolution.

And Rosin here is indulging in a bit of ‘shaping’ herself: she is trying to ‘shape’ the history of that Revolution’s achievements in her short version of the many feministical victory-lap histories that have been raining down upon Us recently like propaganda leaflets dropped from an aircraft in World War Two or Vietnam. (So much nicer than bombs, so much more ‘respectful’ and ‘sensitive’.)

And she is trying to shape (manipulate, not to put too fine a point on it) Our view of not only what has happened but what is happening. So that then We will simply say Oh well, it’s a done deal then.

If this Revolution’s ‘deal’ gets ‘done’, then We will be in a heepa trubble.

And to the extent that is has gotten done – thanks to the Israeli-like ‘alliance’ between the Revolutionistas and the pols in the Beltway – then it has already gotten Us into a heepa trubble.
Rosin would like to accentuate the positive, thank yew very much, and she has collected a whole pile of 3x5 file cards with every ‘good story’ she can find in order to convince Us that this is a ‘report’.

I disagree.

She starts with a macho biologist, a man named Ericsson, who in 1970 found a way to separate sperm into the male-producing Y chromosome from the other, X chromosome. He was a macho man, offering his ranch as the backdrop for those Marlboro-Man commercials many may still remember. He liked the image that the ads conveyed: “a guy riding on his horse along the river, no bureaucrats, no lawyers”.

It was a nice image, although outdated long before 1970. In the late 19th century, the country’s males had had to submit themselves not to Nature’s stern discipline of farming or ranching in the Midwest or Southwest, but rather to Industrialism’s stern and rapacious discipline of salary-and-job in the cities. Even as late as 1940 the Army geared up for World War Two by ordering 20,000 horses (for cavalry and transport work) – although by 1945 there were no more horses , the hayburners replaced by huge amounts of industrially-produced trucks and vehicles of various sizes and shapes. (Not to be too hard on the Army here: the famous German blitzkrieg into France that year was supplied by more horses than trucks, as was the German advance into Russia in 1941, until the horses died of exhaustion and the truck engines froze up and … all that.)

“Feminists of the era [1970] did not take kindly to Ericsson and his Marlboro Man veneer. To them the lab cowboy and his sperminator “portended a dystopia of mass-produced boys.” The problem, of course, not being boys who were mass-produced but rather ‘women’ who would be outnumbered by the wretched creatures.

She doesn’t ask if many Men or males thought much of the Marlboro Man as a life-plan or a self-plan.

Although I grant you that a generation of males that experienced the Depression in their childhood, and then the horrors but also the intense excitements of life-in-combat, were pretty much worn out and ready to ‘settle down’ bigtime by 1945; and by the 1950s had used their organizational experiences of responsible job-doing to create a monstrously productive achievement. And although ‘uniformity’ had its dangerous though subtle and insidious psychological and emotional and even spiritual aspects, it was a hell of a lot better than being shot at or having to shoot other humans down.

And just as they had willingly undergone both the regimentation and the boredom-horror of the rear-area/front-line combat rhythm in order to fight totalitarianism, they were willing to put up with it to fulfill their responsibilities to their family. (So you can imagine what they must have felt like when, facing middle-age in the 1960s, they were bluntly informed by Betty Friedan that in providing homes and hearths they had been running a regime no better than Dachau. Ach.)

But as soon as she has finished her 3x5 reference to Ericsson, milking it for the feministical ‘shock’ value, she moves on without further ado to an ex-nun social psychologist who opined in 1984 that “You have to be concerned about the future of all women” because “There exists a universal preference for sons”.

Assuming that this was where the ex-nun was actually going with her thought as quoted, Rosin will go for the idea later on in the piece that nowadays many many families – increasingly run by women even if there is a ‘man’ around – joyfully and forcefully prefer daughters. More on that in a bit. But you may rest assured that this is to be seen as an indicator that the Male’s days are numbered. And that this is Good News and reflects Progress. But let’s not get ahead of things here.

The ex-nun went on to worry that if “these practices” had been in effect “years ago” then there wouldn’t be any women at all, since families – run by men – would be choosing boys. This would be the result of a combination of aggressive and assertive male dominance within the family and either fearful acquiescence by women afraid of being beaten or cooperation by ‘male-identified’ women who just didn’t know any better, ‘just didn’t get it’, and who were – wittingly or not – traitors to their gender.

Which is an assertion impossible to falsify or to prove. Would all ‘men’ in charge of families now demand only sons? (And if so, why?) And in a milieu where Daddy did the bread-winning and Mommy ran everything else, then would there be a leap to ‘sons’?

And even if this was true all around the world – as the piece claims – then Why would it be that there was a preference for sons? Could it totally and purely be ascribed to some deliberate or preconscious human pre-disposition for male children throughout the entire human species?

And why would a species evolve such a practice? Could there be any rational basis for it?

I have no answer for those Questions, but my point is that when the Revolution started the cadres weren’t really interested in finding any answers either. Or even in giving the matter much thought at all. No,there was this ‘patriarchy’ thing, which existed since the beginning of recorded History – give or take a moment or two – and this had to be stopped, and reversed.

Sort of like ‘affirmative action’ would not only stop but reverse the oppressions Jim Crow culture inflicted on American blacks back in the day. THAT was all you needed to know (Mehr als dies braucht ihr nicht zu wissen, as the Nazi propaganda reels used to assure the Germans in the 1930s: “More than this you don’t need to know” or “This is all you need to know”. Ja! Yah).

Rosin does note that while “polling data on American sex preference is sparse, and does not show a clear preference for girls, the picture from the doctor’s office unambiguously does”: 75% of the requests for ‘selection’ are for girls these days.

And that “women are driving all the decisions”.

Again, there’s no way of knowing. But there are some interesting questions that arise: is it that single mothers feel more comfortable with girls than boys for their children? God knows that ‘family’ is now Deconstructed officially and that ‘unwed mothers’ are ‘the new normal’.

Or is it that fathers, taking a pragmatic view, realize that in a culture where the government itself has thrown its weight behind a shrewd and strong program to – may I say? – affirmatively discriminate against males as a matter of ideology and without any concern for actual results and consequences, then a girl-child in a regime like this has a better chance of surviving and why bring a boy into such a frakkulent regime?

Or is it that lesbian ‘parents’ (and Rosin will raise the topic herself later in the piece) prefer ‘grrrrls’?

Or is it that – after 3 or more decades of ‘demasculinizing’ males as a matter of government-sponsored cultural policy - males born after 1975 and now well within fathering-age are now so personally and culturally unsure of themselves that they either a) are willing to let their wives make the choice or b) don’t feel comfortable raising a male?

I don’t know – but my point is that nobody knows. The Questions either haven’t been asked or have been pooh-poohed through all sorts of ‘science’ and ‘reports’ skewed – with all the best intentions, of course – to put truth, reality, and actual consequences into the service of the Revolution. And it doesn’t help that the Beltway has put the full faith and credit and power of the government behind the whole thing. Advocacy and Revolution both have as their goal the spinning of all reality in their service of their own objectives, goals, demands, agendas.

It doesn’t make for a genuinely Informed Citizenry. But rather for a Correctly Shaped and Manipulated Citizenry.

That can’t end well for a democratic republic.

The old cowboy, Ericsson, now asks “Why wouldn’t you choose a girl?”. And THIS, thinks Rosin, is a “monumental” revelation of how things have improved. (Not ‘changed’; improved.)

Why? Because, she crows, “For nearly as long as civilization has existed, patriarchy – enforced through the rights of the first-born son – has been the organizing principle, with few exceptions”.
Well, taking her at her word, and I think she’s accurate here – as far as the historical depth and breadth of the thing goes, at least – then the Questions immediately should arise: Why did and Why has the entire human species developed this pattern? Why did humans so early on figure that this was the best way to proceed? Why did the species, throughout all the ages up until A.D. 1970 keep the pattern?

Is it the ONLY (or even most probable) Answer that there was either a deliberate and conscious or unwitting and preconscious conspiracy on the part of ‘men’ and most of the women? Or that after a while it became merely a matter of ‘inertia’?

Can it really be just a matter of the cadres of the current era suddenly pulling off a political triumph for a profoundly accurate vision and interpretation of human dynamics that escaped the awareness of every human society, culture, and civilization throughout recorded human history?

Or perhaps it is that with the assistance of a vote-addled Beltway, and deploying the methods of 20th century revolutionary and propagandistic praxis, a determined group has managed to get the afore-mentioned vote-addled and pandering-minded government of what was (up until recently) the World Hegemon to go along with what in essence was nothing more than a political and ideological gambit which no human group in history has ever chosen (though clearly the option was there for them to consider) and which the Citizens (male and female) of this democracy could not be trusted to choose on their own?

Good frakking grief.

Rosin nods, inevitably, to the Simone de Beauvoir’s 1949 book “The Second Sex”. Although she had many sexual relationships, de Beauvoir was implacably, almost viscerally, opposed to marriage and family life (perhaps she was too free a spirit) and coupled this with her assertion that “women are not born, but made”.

To some extent, all human beings are ‘made’. By this I mean that humans are born with undeveloped brains and it takes a hell of a long time for that brain to physically mature, and even longer (though the process should be started as early as possible) for the individual to manage skillfully the use of that brain.

And that if you want to add ‘character’ to ‘brain-competence’ then the task simply becomes that more complex. And vital.

None of which figures into the Revolution’s agenda, which is gender-besotted and focuses merely on that aspect of human-ness and of humanity.

And what of Evolution? If Evolution’s vastly and indubitably demonstrated arc is to ensure the successful propagation of a species, then is it in any way probable that it would NOT ensure that the mother-being would be hugely endowed precisely for the purpose of raising the young and thus performing the core task of propagating the species?

In that sense the female (I gather that ‘woman’ is a ‘social construct’, according to Correct thought) is indeed ‘born’. And ‘made’ too, by Evolution itself, precisely endowed with all sorts of complex competences to handle the early nurture of the young of the species.

Did Evolution make a trade-off? It almost always does, demonstrably and indubitably. In the case of the human species – and almost all others – the female is not as strong, is attuned to relationships, and to the patience and ‘softness’ necessary to nurture. The male loses out somewhat on all that, endowed in compensation with abilities to react quickly to possible threats, and with the strength to meet those threats.

Both female and male must then be helped to Master those competences.

But to imply or assert, as the rather loopy de Beauvoir and the feministical cadres do, that such pre-programmed complexities do not exist, or are negligible … strikes me as being in its way as whackulous as Fundamentalists who can claim the literalness of Scripture while denying that ‘God’ meant ‘wine’ but rather meant ‘Welch’s grape juice’ when the term comes up in the Scriptural texts.

And thus to claim that all of human history’s arrangement of society is nothing more than the result of this phantasmagoric ‘patriarchy’, and that in no way could such consistent arrangement be perhaps indicative of some species-wide awareness of a profoundly real human dynamic (perhaps so consistent and deeply grounded as to be termed a ‘law’ of human existence) … to claim THAT and then claim on top of it to insist that QUESTIONS are not to be entertained in regard to its validity – well, that indicates a monstrous lack of seriousness and integrity in the Thinking department.

Weirdly, although claiming in one paragraph that this “preference” has lasted “for nearly as long as civilization has existed”, she declares in the next that the preference is only “centuries-old”.

Assuming she knows the species has been around for more than a few millennia, then I have to figure she’s up to some rhetorical manipulation here: perhaps trying to reduce the possibility that some readers might wonder about the wisdom of so utterly pooh-poohing many millennia worth of human insight. Instead, it’s just the past few centuries, perhaps of ‘Western’ civilization (the horror!).

She then declares that “Man has been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But for the first time in human history, that is changing – and with shocking speed”. I agree.

BUT then is it wise to suddenly and for the first time, with a by-definition untested and apparently unfalsifiable hypothesis, to so profoundly AND rapidly effect not only a change BUT an utter reversal of the species’ universal societal and cultural praxis?

HAS THIS REALLY BEEN THOUGHT-THROUGH? IS THIS WISE? WAS THIS A GOOD IDEA 40 BIBLICAL YEARS AGO? HAS OUR GOVERNMENT SERVED US WELL BY SO HASTILY IMPOSING IT?

Which is one of the complicated little situations that arise when you start looking carefully at the philosophy – and the philosophical consequences – underlying popular or strongly-advocated political agendas.

Which is why, once they have stated their agenda and their hopes, revolutionaries don’t really want to waste time on philosophy: sooner or later you’re going to have everybody ‘thinking’ and nobody ‘doing’. And more specifically: they’re not going to be ‘doing what your revolution wants’ and instead they may even find holes in your position that allow them to disagree with your revolutionary agenda and your revolutionary demands. And THAT is the type of problem good revolutionaries never want to allow to start up in the first place; the smart revolutionary wants action, not thinking. Or – at the very least – the smart revolutionary wants everybody to simply accept what the revolution claims is the ‘reality’ of the situation and just stay out of the revolution’s way. Either agree or shut-up, but don’t think if that means you’re going to disagree. Because Disagreement is Intolerance. And worse, Disagreement and Dissent will slow down the rush of the revolution – which to a revolution and to a revolutionary is the unforgivable crime and sin.

Which is not the way for a deliberative democracy to function.

Or for a mature Citizenry in a Constitutional Republic to conduct their vital role as governors of their government.

What Rosin is trumpeting as a sure sign of how Right And Very Clever the feministical cadres have been, seems to me rather an indictment of a stunning impetuousness: immature and arrogant, no matter how much shrewdness went into the tactics of such a ‘success’.

AND THEN, of course: what if this grossly and nakedly untested hypothesis turns out to be wrong?

Yes, the Revolution’s solution to that has been to claim that at bottom it’s all a matter of ‘perception’ and of ‘optimism’: if you just hold your head at the Correct angle, then EVERYTHING will appear to be on the level – and that’s the best you can expect out of Life because there is no ‘right’ and no ‘wrong’ but instead only whatever the ‘dominant majority’ wants to claim in order to preserve its power.

Phooey. Life, like an aircraft, operates according to several levels of rules: the human FAA can say what altitude Westbound and Eastbound flights must maintain in order to keep order in the skies; and the individual corporate carriers can say what color uniforms their crews will wear.

BUT when it comes to the basic laws of aerodynamics and of gravity … no human gets to change those things. If you insist that an aircraft can be flown in reverse, or that it can be loaded with more weight than its engines can provide thrust or its wings can provide lift or its fuselage can support … well, you’re not going to be in the flying business for very long, and such flights as you do manage to send up are not going to end well. (See further on about the national economy these days.)

So when the likes of Rosin and her co-cadres ‘report’ that it’s all just a matter of perception or that it’s all just a little ‘reform’ and in any case it’s all Progress – bahhhhhhloney. That’s Kool-Aid of a type so profoundly dangerous that it makes the Bush-Cheney gang’s assertions about being greeted as ‘liberators’ seem like garden-variety tea-leaf reading.

Or to put that another way: if you think that the Iraq War was a catastrophe in most if not all of its intended and unintended consequences (the ones We know about, and the ones We have not yet been fully told about) then the Feministical Revolution was the Mother of All such Bad Consequences.

So: Yes, the Feminist Revolution as it has played out is indeed a World-Class or World-Historical Event. But not a good one. (See further about the current state of Our national polity and economy.)

(And I think you could make a solid case that in the service of that Revolution the government and the Beltway have – on many levels – waged war against the common-weal of its own Citizenry and polity for the past 40 Biblical years … and I include female as well as male Citizens in that.)

Another 3x5 goodie: in 2006 “the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development* devised the Gender, Institutions and Development Database”. “With few exceptions”, this thing reports, “the greater the power of women, the greater the country’s economic success”.

Well.

Surely they can’t mean the US nowadays. Surely the US was all that back in the days of ‘patriarchy’, before 1970. But that was then. And if the Organization is taking the now-declining and precipitously fragile US economic position as STILL being No. 1, then it’s merely basing its calculations on a ghost, not on a currently-living reality. That’s the equivalent of calling Titanic the most advanced and largest liner in the world even as she started to go down by the head as her compartments progressively flooded: it’s still true, but not for long at all. She won’t last the night.

Yet Rosin – eerily and whackulously writing as if the past two years (and the past three decades of warning signs) in regard to the US economy were just a thang – insists cheeribly that the US (with all its ‘women’) is still “the world’s most advanced economy”. Although I note that she shrewdly doesn’t say it’s the most ‘successful’ economy – and Titanic took all her state-of-the-art stuff down with her.

But she’s off on this new tack now: “What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men?”

To which I respond: What if her characterization of ‘postindustrial’ is nothing more than a desperate attempt to spin a catastrophe as a success that was planned all along? You know – like a defeated General reporting brassily that his forces are marvelously ‘advancing to the rear’. Or Goebbels telling the Germans that it’s a good thing that the Soviets are now within the boundaries of the Reich, because now the ever-victorious German armies will be fighting their ever-victorious fight on shortened lines of supply. And that this is precisely what the Fuhrer planned, luring the Soviets into Germany by making it look like the German armies were retreating.

We do not produce anything anymore. You can’t employ 300 million people (don’t even get into the immigrants – legal and illegal) in ‘knowledge’ industries. And if you employ all but a few million in service industries, then you are going to set up another feudal society with a small aristocracy living off the backs of a huge serfdom.

And you can’t keep a Constitutional and democratic Republic going for long that way.

And you can’t spin re-feudalization as Progress.

Didn’t they consider this?

Hell, the simple math of the 1970s would have warned about it. You are already starting to lose jobs to other nations (newly recovering from the wrack of WW2 or newly-industrializing) … and with the stroke of a pen and wave of the Federal wand you want to double the potential employee base overnight by declaring that women are as employable as men? Do the math, for heaven’s sake.

But it is, as I said, not the nature of any Revolutionary project to think things through too much.

While Lenin in 1917 was certain that his Soviet vision was the Right way to go, his fallback consolation was that if he simply forced Russia to get used to the Soviet Way, then it would become ‘the new normal’ for people whether it worked or not. And that he and his gang would then be in business and on top of the heap for quite a long time. Which is the way it actually worked out … until 1991.

This is Progress for America?

But Rosin now can deploy the huge stack of 3x5s generated for a couple of decades now: since America is no longer ‘industrial’, then it doesn’t need that dinosaur: the Industrial Working (White, if you want) Male. His physical strength, his ability to take tremendous pressure and to discipline himself to ‘do a job’ responsibly and to Master his tasks … nope, that’s all ‘old’ stuff.

His ‘social role’ is no longer required by work – and the ‘family’ has now been Deconstructed, so who needs him? (It’s an oddly Amazon, not to say lesbian-toned, vision, this paradise of Rosin and her sistern … male and female).

Interestingly, though, she now adds ‘high finance’ to the male-dominated industries like construction and manufacturing that were hit hardest in the Great Recession (as if it’s over).

But again, has this been thought-through? What happens when nobody is ‘constructing’? When nobody is ‘manufacturing’? And not even Rosin risks claiming that the posed photos of ‘women’ doing all the heavy-lifting jobs that ‘men’ can do are actually indicative of some general female capability in those areas.

(The military, of course, has been hollowed out precisely by such shrewd but arrogant ‘spin’ and such ‘perceptions’: there wouldn’t be any more ‘fighting’ or if there was it would be by electronics, so women could be ‘soldiers’ as easily as men; there wouldn’t be any more instances of warships hit at sea by enemy fire, so they could be sailors as easily as ‘men’ could be. More than anybody is allowed to know, We now have a Potemkin military, if not actually a Federally-funded, un-ending costume-party … but the dawn will come, and the party will be revealed for the illusion it is.)

Stunningly, she admits that while ‘some’ of these lost jobs will come back, “the overall pattern of dislocation is neither temporary nor random”. But she thinks that’s a Good Thing.

Because “the recession merely revealed – and accelerated – a profound economic shift that has been going on for at least 30 years …” Yes. Precisely. But the feministical Deconstruction of the Productive, Working, (White, if you wish), Male ‘world’ has also been going on for 40 years, so what she is now claiming as a confirmatory trend may well simply be the ‘echo’ of the results of the Feminist Revolution’s efforts to get rid of ‘men’ (that oddly lesbian-toned thing, again).

And if it’s been happening around the world, then that may simply reflect in great measure the effect of the Revolution’s changes that it got the Beltway to impose upon America.

But I will say that the postwar American productive and economic hegemony that lasted from 1945 to about 1980 was guaranteed to be challenged by re-covering and newly-developing nations – and anyone could have seen it by thinking about it for a moment . AND IT WAS THAT CHALLENGE that was precisely the profound challenge that the Federal Government and the Beltway should have been dealing with.

BUT INSTEAD the Beltway yielded to the seductions of Identity Politics and the Feminist Revolution: giving the Feminists what they wanted by going after ‘men’ while collecting cash from the corporations to let them ‘outsource’ the industrial and manufacturing jobs – held by ‘men’ anyway, so what the hell? - or bringing in immigrants to break the unions and any expectations that American jobs had to keep paying the wages and benefits that generations of ‘men’ and ‘patriarchy’ had worked so hard to achieve.

This, I would say, constituted a political and governmental treachery on a scale so huge and deep that it will beggar future historians’ descriptions.

And yet when they read – since it will survive in the electronosphere – Rosin’s blurpy burble that “Indeed, the U.S. economy is in some ways becoming a kind of travelling sisterhood” they are going to shake their heads in disbelief. And laugh.

(And perhaps equally so when they realize that this idea of a “travelling sisterhood” is kinda sorta very much what the Revolution expects the military to become.)

She “interviewed” “dozens of college women” and their basic vision of their future married lives, she reports, is that they will be out earning lots of money “while their husbands stayed at home, either looking for work or minding the children”.

Don’t laugh before you cry.

THIS is a mature vision of what a family life will be? And do they think that any marriage so configured is going to last for long? And these are the oh-so-marvelous ‘college women’ who are the cream of the feministical crop?

Be afraid. Be very afraid. And yes, weep for them, Argentina. Lament loudly, wail, and gnash your teeth.

As you can see, Maturity has been a victim – because it was an enemy – of the Revolution. Male maturity, female maturity – it doesn’t matter.

This leads her to a 3x5 trope about some French writer’s vision of life becoming a sort of “bachelor’s ball”. In a French village, with the males holding the ‘dominance’, the females went to the cities and got great jobs, came back to go to a ball (not such a Correct vision, but irony is lost on Rosin), and all the village men stood baffled and embarrassed on the sidelines because the women had great jobs and lives and the men had nothing to match that and nothing to offer them. This is a fantasy, again so oddly lesbian-toned, as are so many of the ‘stories’ that ease the tasteful swilling of wayyyy too much cheap chardonnay wherever the Revolution gets together to ‘support’ and congratulate itself.

She interviewed one Mustafa El-Scari, “a teacher and social worker” whose job is to show men sent to counseling for non-support just how macho they have been. He (Mr. El-Scari) is pleased to report that his efforts to bring the trailer-trash Missouri gentlemen to an awareness of their own miserableness is quite successful and well-received by the aforesaid men (who need his signature on their attendance slips to satisfy the female-skewed family Court that sent their miserable selves to counseling to begin with). His marquis line is to yell at the male “She’s calling you bitch!”, the ‘she’ referring to the hapless fellow’s wife.

In regard to that, I can’t see how so many think the male is so uncontrollably violent. Mr. El-Scari seems to be collecting his salary for making a practice of this sort of thing with Missouri males and yet is still in one piece – whereas the Revolution’s position is that males will ‘aggress’ at the drop of a hat.

[At this point in the print edition, a sidebar article starts up, entitled “Are Fathers Necessary?” by a female who reaches the conclusion that Murphy Brown was right and that “the ‘essential’ father might well be the lesbian mom” (although, I suppose, if the ‘father’ lesbian is one of those artistes formerly known as ‘mannish lesbians’, then perhaps the ‘lesbian dad’ is not so strange a concept).]

She refers – with a professional detachment that does not so much betoken high and knowledgeable impartiality as it does ‘Let them eat cake’ – to “the end of the manufacturing era”.

To which one can only respond: A) How does a country survive – let alone provide work for its Citizens – without manufacturing and heavy-lifting? And B) Manufacturing and ‘patriarchy’ and substantive economic achievement seem to be rather deeply interwoven, and what then does this say in regard to a post-patriarchal era?

But now she’s going after the male psyche itself.

There is no reason, she asserts Correctly, why ‘men’ should not be able to succeed in the nurturing professions – and yet nursing school report that men aren’t signing up, which proves, to Rosin’s satisfaction, that men “have proved remarkably unable to adapt”.

This is soooooo sly.

With the Feminist Revolution having Deconstructed family and productive industry (and the military) by claiming that ‘women’ can do the job as easily as ‘men’, Rosin then interprets the failure of men to ‘adapt’ as easily as women as proof positive that ‘men’ are simply too sodden stodgy, brutish and lumpen to do what ‘women’ have so widely done. A sure sign, then, that ‘men’ are going the way of the dinosaur – and again, granted turkey-basters and their follow-on technology, a disconcertingly lesbian-tinged vision.

Well.

First, given the monstrous proportions of ‘advocacy reporting’ and ‘advocacy science’ and outright governmental refusal to ‘know’ what it doesn’t want to know and to report what it doesn’t want Us to know, there’s really no way of knowing just how well ‘women’ HAVE successfully adapted. The now-obligatory cheerible ‘stories’ and photos of ‘women’ doing this or that for the camera hardly constitute evidence of anything, and may well be evidence of nothing more than a successful spin campaign.

Second, she is judging ‘men’ by the Revolution’s Truth that there is utterly no essential difference between males and females. And THAT bit of ‘knowledge’ is hardly established – and may well turn out to be wrong. And to have been wrong all along.

Perhaps men are not, generally, by nature effective nurturers and on some deep level they realize it. But she can’t consider THAT possibility because it would then open up the possibility that women by nature ARE effective nurturers, and perhaps by nature unequipped for other essential activity for which ‘men’ are more usefully suited – and that therefore the millennia of humans antedating the current cadres of the Feminist Revolution were actually more accurate in their insights and judgments than the Revolution … and Rosin isn’t going to open up THAT Pandora’s Box.

Third, after decades during which the power of the Federal government has imposed outcome-based hiring throughout the country, how can you be sure any of the Revolution’s assertions about its ‘victory’ and its ‘success’ are based in any reality and truth at all?

She sails on: “As we recover from the Great Recession …” Again, the cheerible assurance that although the Goose has been killed, the Golden Eggs will continue. Only a Boomer or a cadre of Revolution could really believe that such a miracle is not only possible but probable. And yet if the economy goes, or the status of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, then this whole Game is going to deflate as quickly as a gas-balloon when the little furnace under the bag gives out.

She is fortified, however, by a 3x5 containing the optimistic assurance of one Jamie Ladge, “business professor at Northeastern University”to the effect that even when the Recession is over (which is already a stretch) ‘men’ and their jobs won’t be coming back to the workforce. And parents are paying good money for Ms. Ladge’s one-note sermons about this sort of thing?

But it indicates that once the Revolution has inserted its cadres in numerous institutions, then it can call upon them for ‘official’ and ‘professional’ blurbs, totally Correct, of course.

Thus, who can be surprised when she notes – probably accurately – that ‘women’ are now not only more than half the employed workforce but are also the majority of members of middle-management?

Ditto, when she says that the majority of higher-education credentials are now being “earned” by ‘women’. How can you tell just what has been “earned’, given the double-standards and outcome-based regulations that have been in effect in most corporations and universities for decades? (The several Service academies are mired in credibility problems nowadays, trying to convince alumni and others that while they have double-standards they haven’t ‘watered-down’ their standards. In this you can agree most heartily with the military cadres’ assertion that ‘It’s not your father’s – fill in the blank: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard – anymore’.)

But even if Rosin’s vision of well-prepared, mature, competent legions of female college graduates is accurate, where and how will they be employed? And will husbands whose task is to ‘look for work’ remain committed for long? Why, indeed, marry such losers at all?

But then there’s a giveaway. Rosin quotes another 3x5 expert to the effect that “once brawn was off the list of job requirements, women often measured up better than most men”. Further, “they were smart, dutiful, and as long as employers could make the jobs more convenient for them, more reliable”.

Your first thought might be to ask, especially in regard to some duty like the military: how do you make war or emergency ‘more convenient’?

But it’s also applicable to any job that requires sustained and predictable performance: once ‘convenience’ overrides ‘reliability of achievement’, then what have you done and what have you got?

And this includes not only manufacturing, but ‘service’ industries (and, say, ‘emergency service’).

Nor is it anything short of a clear double standard to claim that ‘women’ are more reliable than men and then immediately go on to admit that you’ve changed the standards’ parameters by defining ‘convenience’ as separate from ‘reliability’.

And merely re-naming the ‘mommy track’ to ‘flex time’ is hardly progress. Although such semantics and rhetorical slyness passes for ‘success’ with the Feminist Revolution, just as feculent junk-bonds were considered great investments once re-badged as ‘CDOs’. Where, d’ye think, did the financial honchos get this idea of simply putting a nice name on a piece of dreck?

And just what ‘convenience’ requirements are there for ‘women’? Children? But if they are just the same as men, and since the consequences of any sex act can now be neutralized, then why this irrepressible female attraction to having children? Is there something – ummmm – in their ‘nature’ that sort of veers that way irrepressibly? Is there some ‘abiding desire and attraction’?

If so, where is all that coming from? Rosin dassn’t go there – she could find herself disinvited to a whole lotta A-list Revolutionary chardonnay-fests. Surely it’s intellectually lame to claim that all of this ‘having children’ stuff is merely the result of ‘choice’ and ‘autonomy’? That just kicks the Question down the road: WHY do so many ‘choose’ it?

But the movie ‘Office Space’ from 1999 was clear, she says, in demonstrating how dispiriting life in an office complex was for ‘men’. I wonder first how many women also find it so . And second: if you haven’t got any industry, then just what are the ‘office parks’ for? How much paper can a country shuffle without generating any of the activity that results in the paperwork? This was clear as early as the later 1970s and early 1980s office-park boom: how, I wondered, can you be losing so much industry and yet still need all these offices and all that paper?


Of course, the scam in those days was that Reagan was borrowing cash like crazy from around the world (on his watch the US went from the world’s largest creditor to the world’s largest debtor), so there was ‘fresh’ money coming in to provide the illusion of ‘wealth’ and ‘progress’ – the country could BOTH indulge the Revolution’s agenda AND remain Number 1. Yah.
And when the cash gave out, it was Bubbles – and now, Peaches, the party’s over! Time to walk outside and face The Day. (St. Paul would add “Put on the armor of light and walk becomingly as in the day”, but why drag religion into this? Anyway, too many are now so used to their costumes from the past 40 years of partying that they can’t get them off, let alone muster the character-chops to “put on the armor of light”.)

She quotes the queasy David Gergen (the Bushistu flak who was all for the Iraq War) who has now re-badged himself to be of service to another ‘winner’ with his book “Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership”.

Leaders, says Revolutionary Sister Gergen, no longer need to be “aggressive and competitive” – this must have been quite a ‘conversion’, since not so long ago he was serving the Bush-Cheney imperium.

And two female psychological book-writers who said in a 2007 work that men and women are just about evenly matched in assertiveness and competitiveness, but men “tend to assert themselves in a controlling manner, while women tend to take into account the rights of others”.

Neat. Wayyyyyy toooooooo neat. Women are almost as competitive and assertive as men (so you can’t not-hire them or not-promote them because they are too ‘soft’) BUT AT THE SAME TIME they take into account “the rights of others” (whatever the hell that means in this context) so you should hire them rather than ‘men’. I always suspect ‘science’ that comes up with so politically convenient a ‘discovery’. But to Rosin this is mother’s milk, so to speak.

She apparently knows enough about the torrent of feministical ‘science’ that has flooded the place in the past four decades to figure she’d better cover that vulnerability: previous early researchers (she doesn’t say ‘feminist’ or feminist-friendly, which is what most of them were) “sometimes exaggerated” the differences between women and men: “crude gender stereotypes” praised women’s empathy and nurturingness and their having a “superior moral sensibility” while belittling male aggressiveness. In the 1990s “feminist business theory seemed to be forcing this point”.

But No, No, No, says Rosin. Now the Correct line is that there is, as the recent financial crisis has suggested, a relationship “between testosterone and excessive risk”.

And, I imagine, if there had been no recent financial crisis the Correct line would still be the old one about women bringing empathy and intuition and a fine moral sensibility to … whatever it is they think happens in boardrooms.

But now, in one of those rhetorical turn-arounds beloved of the Revolution and highly-esteemed as ‘wisdom’, it is ‘men’ who represent “the irrational and overemotional” while ‘women’ are on the side of “the cool and level-headed”. Wheeeeeeeee! Goody goody gumdrops!

In other words, crazy-tough and crazy-agitated males got Us into this mess; if there had been “cool and level-headed females” none of it would have happened.

My God, do these games never end?

Worse, though, is the next idea: that “the old model of command and control, with one leader holding all the decision-making power, is considered hidebound”. Roll that one around in your head for a bit.

First, what happens to a military when THIS kind of ‘knowledge’ replaces the old Master & Commander approach? And do you think Jack Aubrey and his crew would have come back in one piece from their encounter with the larger French frigate in the movie of the same name if they had all been allowed to express their feelings over chardonnay on the main deck? (The movie was based, by the way, on the actual exploits of the Royal Navy in the Age of Fighting Sail, which Age was also smack dab in the middle of the Age of Patriarchy, which itself comprised all of human history until 1970 A.D.)

Second, what are the implications for individual character here? Mastering one’s human capabilities as an individual – those monstrously complex brain-parts and their not-always-congruent capabilities, the urges to sex and reproduction, the tension between what you want to do and what you should do, the tension between your own and others’ desires – is one of the traditional hallmarks of ‘character’ and ‘maturity’. How do you raise a child – of either or any gender – when you have declared all that “hidebound”?

That reminds me of John Rawls’s concept of “moral luck”: some folks are just born ‘lucky’ in the sense that they have the ability to organize their lives and sustain responsibilities competently, and are even ‘lucky’ enough to WANT TO do that. But responsibility and dedication and self-mastery and all the rest are just the result of ‘moral luck’.

If THAT’S true, then what happens to Character or Maturity? Why try to achieve them if it’s all a matter of ‘luck’ anyway? Why try to teach that to a kid if all s/he’s going to do is ‘feel superior’ to those who just weren’t so ‘lucky’.

If Life and Self are only about ‘luck’ and not about Achievement – then you don’t need Maturity or Self-Mastery; you just need a Government that will fiddle with everything in order to neutralize the effects of ‘bad luck’. And you wind up with the San Francisco municipal softball league, for the whole country.

Forget the ‘capitalist’ or ‘libertarian’ angles on all this. What does it do to the shaping of the young? What does it do to the moral or maturational competences of a People? (And, since the People govern the government in Our system, to the moral and maturational competence of the Government? Hint: preventive war, WMD, torture … that sort of thing.)
This “new model”, nicely enough, is called “THE ANTI-HEROIC” [capitals mine]. Well, that’s some of the first honest labeling I’ve come across in all this.

Again, you can see why the Service academies have a credibility problem: they are training military or naval officers who will precisely not be Masters & Commanders, who will precisely not be motivated to ‘achieve’ any sort of superior interiority and characterological competence and maturity. And who will be convinced that if outrageous fortune throws slings and arrows at them, then they can just quit and go home or else Twitter their Congressperson or their local paper since by being shot at they are clearly having their ‘rights’ disrespected and somebody has to make it stop.

Good grief.

So again, the post-heroic leader will be ‘transformational’, inviting the best that each has to give without riding roughshod over everybody. This is hardly new nor unique to the Feminist Revolution. Competent military commanders and naval commanders realized it – Eisenhower was famous for his ability to preside over the fractious possibilities of the Alliance in World War 2.

Indeed, it was only in the Gordon-Gekko-ish lunacy that infected the culture and the business schools in the early 1980s that the hopped-up crazy-man in red-suspenders became a role-model. But that owed a great deal to the Feminist Revolution, which by the early 1980s was already having a ‘transformative’ – or perhaps ‘deformative’ – effect on everything it came near.

“We never explicitly say ‘Develop your feminine side’ but it’s clear that’s what we’re advocating’” says Ms. Professor Jamie Ladge with a wink-wink, nudge-nudge to Sister Rosin for inclusion in the latter’s 3x5 library. Does it never end with these people?

“The well-paid lifetime union job has been disappearing for at least 30 years” says Rosin. But the Feminist Revolution had a whole lot to do with that. The Beltway saw that it could keep them happy by getting rid of ‘men’ and ‘masculine, working, culture’ while also keeping the corporate biggies happy (and contributing) by letting them undercut the union-tradition and outsource jobs. Money was borrowed and then Bubbled in order to lull the Citizenry into thinking that Feminism was ‘working’ – when, in a hell-hot irony, it was precisely and comprehensively undermining the foundations of American work.

Ever the field-researcher, Rosin interviewed “Michelle”, a poster-girl college student who is going for a psychology major but who has a great Lament: her fiancée is a slacker-loser who has changed majors “like, 16 times” and “it’s funny but it’s not”.

The Question Rosin doesn’t ask is why poster-person Michelle has gotten involved with – AND ENGAGED TO – such a wrecked young guy. You just know that within a few years – assuming the marriage takes place – Michelle is going to be taking out a Domestic Violence Protection Order or worse. Why even go near such a loser if you are on such a high-angle success track?

Here Rosin actually touches upon a truly awful problem: the lack of maturity, or maturing influences, in the lives of young males.

But she’s only interested in this in order to show what lumps ‘men’ are.

The slacker boys and the queasily feminine or female-dependent ‘metrosexual’ boys ( no, I’m not implying that they’re gay), the vacuous-eyed shlubs Rosin aptly describes as being the leads in Judd Apatow movies … that’s what you’re seeing more and more of now.

But what did We expect? Single mothers, a generation of fathers now who themselves were undermined in any constructive approach to mastering their human and masculine powers, the ‘deconstruction’ of the family and parental authority (from the Boomers mistrust of anyone over 30 to the Feminists’ mistrust of anyone with … ummm ... an external sexual organ), the Correct media culture’s collusion in reducing masculinity to a laughing-stock … when a civilization or a culture or a society turns against the entire vital Mission of forming well the vitalities and energies of its males, it has become – truly – Decadent (meaning: rotting and headed toward decline).

And when it actually embraces – and its government embraces – the consoling illusions that such Decadence is actually Progress and Truth … then you have to wonder if such a polity deserves any consideration from History’s rock-stern rhythms at all.

But instead Rosin has amassed some 3x5s that ‘blame the victim’ (if I may) by claiming that boys have not become more dysfunctional since women began flooding the colleges. No, instead “what’s clear is that schools, like the economy, value self-control, focus, and verbal aptitude that seems to come more easily to young girls”. In other words, the boys have always been lumps; it’s just that now that the colleges have been requiring more maturity, the girls can provide it and the boys are becoming so obviously the lumps that they always were – you just couldn’t see it back in the age of patriarchy.

Thus the consolations that ease the passage of the cheap chardonnay in the slop-and-support sessions of the Revolution.

In her single stab at the possible consequences for national policy, Rosin then intones that “allowing generations of boys to grow up feeling rootless and obsolete is not a recipe for a peaceful future”.

But she’s playing a sinister game here: she immediately goes on to observe, by the by, dahlings, that what few social supports men have, including “men’s rights groups” are “taking on an angry, anti-woman edge”. YA THINK? YA FRAKKING THINK????

After four decades and ten double-columned, single-spaced lines of text, all of which crowed over the lumpen obsolescence of men and everything they have or stand for, Rosin implies that the beasts, so naturally aggressive and bestial, will probably make trouble in the next few decades or less. That’s just the way they are.
Try this thought: you’re on the Board of a corporation and the CEO comes to you and says: we’d like to implement an idea that has never been tried, and by its own admission has been avoided by every business in this field since the beginning of Time, and we’re not sure if it’s right and there are all sorts of conceptual incoherences in both its justifications and its agenda; to adopt this will mean that a fundamental, deep and wide change will have to be imposed on the entire corporation and in fact that change will be in many ways a repudiation of everything we’ve built the corporation upon; and we’re not sure of the end-point when we can call this program a success.

Now as a responsible Board Member, thinking of the employees and the stockholders, would you say Great – Full Speed Ahead … ?
Yes, I know: this is different from the Civil-Rights paradigm exemplified in - say – Martin Luther King’s “Why We Can’t Wait”, but go with it as I’ve suggested and stay with it long enough to mentally grasp just what a monstrous thing Feminism’s follow-own take-over of that paradigm actually presented. And continues to present.

At least she doesn’t try for the “Backlash” card, but Rosin, unlike her sister-predecessor Susan Faludi, isn’t even going to entertain the possibility that ‘men’ can make any intellectual defense. Lumps don’t ‘backlash’; they just bite and howl and trample – at least, when they’re not sitting in front of a flickering screen scratching themselves and stuffing down cheap beer and chips while fingering a personal communication device or two.

She acutely quotes a line from ‘Greenberg’ where Ben Stiller’s character admits that “We keep calling each other ‘man’ but it’s a joke”. And there is in that one line the need and reason for a whole lot of public concern.

But Rosin is simply happy that boys are finally feeling the fecklessness that they so richly deserve because they so fundamentally are.

Worse, she takes it as a sign of success that ‘women’- now that they indeed are the ‘dominant gender’ – are beginning to act like it: they are committing more violent crimes (“sky-rocket” is the term she uses to describe the increase, and not worriedly).

And now, the Marlboro Man is far too “preposterous” to use in ads; he is replaced by “the stunted men in the Dodge Charger ad that ran during this year’s Super Bowl”. Goody goody gumdrops.

Proving her chops as an ‘internationally aware’ reporter, she makes reference to Japan, where such lost-boys are referred to as ‘herbivores’ while their female counterparts are known as ‘carnivores’.

The fact that America was still in possession of a world hegemony when its government chose, four decades ago, to so profoundly pander to the Feminist Revolution means that the ill-consequences of this hugely dubious and possibly frakkulous and wrong-headed (and certainly mean-spirited) cultural catastrophe were transmitted like Avian flu around the world with all the rest of Great America’s culture and customs. And thus the disease is now manifesting itself here, there, and everywhere.

The country exported its ‘progress’ to the rest of the world. And now that, in a final agony of hyper-Imperial wars, its troops are being injected hither and yon into assorted foreign venues, then the Revolution – having taken up symbiotic residence not only in the pop-culture but also in the military culture - will attempt to insinuate itself into those cultures. (And if those cultures resist, knowing a lethal infection when they see one, they may well be subjected to ‘humanitarian intervention’ even as they fight back at the troops who to them represent not so much Occupation as Cultural Dissolution).

And that Cultural Dissolution is already far-progressed here.

And Rosin would like to spin all of this as a ‘victory’.

Any movement that could look out over this catastrophic mess and call it a ‘victory’ doesn’t deserve very much of a parade.

NOTES

*An NGO established in 1961,headquartered in Paris, that advises governments on international development.
ADDENDUM

If you have been following the thread of the Comments you might have noticed the suggestion that feminism’s official Advocates – those highly-organized (and vaguely lesbian-toned or anti-male sounding?) cadres now a fixture among the Beltway – have managed only to make life better for their own subset of a subset of a subset of the ‘set’ entitled ‘women’, such that huge numbers of women in this country are left as hewers-of-wood enabling the elite women to conduct remunerative but ‘convenient’ careers and complain that they only make 2 million a year instead of 4 million like the ‘men’.

Considering that the Advocacy clearly stated that ‘military efficiency and readiness’ was NOT a priority during their post-Tailhook campaign to ‘demasculinize’ the military, it isn’t illogical to wonder: when in the 1970s it became clear that the American economy was having trouble keeping up with the newly-recovering or newly-developing productive economies around the planet, did the feminists actually do the math and quietly tell their pandering pals in Congress that preventing a feudalization or re-feudalization of the American economy was – say – an acceptable price to pay for the relief of womens’ ‘oppression’?

This would have neatly dovetailed with Big Money’s desire to undermine the ‘Detroit consensus’ of the postwar era, where American workers would be reliably employed and well-paid and benefitted.

And of course, under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention’ would dovetail nicely with Rightist and neocon dampdreams of being morally justified in starting up a new era of colonialism, because this time it would be under the ‘moral’ cover of liberating this or that bunch (Washington gets to pick) from ‘oppression’.

This would merely be an internationalizing of the domestic dynamic of Victimism: the marked (and anti-Constitutional) expansion of government authority to ‘ease pain’, ‘bring closure’, and generally relieve such ‘oppressions’ as the pols – under the urging and guidance of the Advocacies – would declare themselves ‘shocked, shocked to find out was going on’. (While the pols – in best Inspector Reynaud fashion – would still collect their ‘winnings’ in the form of Identity group votes and corporate cash contributed through PACs.)

Give that some thought.

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9 Comments:

Blogger James said...

Right on ('whackulously' is a wonderful word).

Interesting too that she unwittingly provides a reason to account for the cause of high unemployment among black males. So it is not racism? That is, of course, if we take much of what she said seriously.

Of course, it is also possible that her plan is this: by making the world of war adopt female centered norms and needs, then we will put an end to war as we knew them. Lysistrata for the the now, and a worthwhile goal. She may also recognize that to make this work in the rest of world, particularly in such patriarchal places like Afghanistan, we need not a few good, tough, angry men to take on the imperial venture. Thus, her plan would have the benefit of giving the now-men an outlet for their anger at home and as well as giving them jobs.

Avanti!

6:36 PM  
Blogger publion said...

In regard to your black-male employment thought, it strikes me that you have hit upon the never-mentioned divergence between Race and Gender Identities/ Advocacies and their respective agendas and interests.

The Age of Identity Revolution – let’s call it – has always been spun as a sort of ‘one big happy rainbow family’ of Revolutions that were Good but not really Revolutions in any of the old dangerous ways.

This spin grossly underestimates just about everything connected with them. There are the Identities of Race (subdivided any number of ways, starting with the 1977 Census Bureau ukase about there being 5 categories), Gender (hardly monolithic), Sexual Orientation (permutations and mutations increasing almost monthly), Disability(disproportionately represented by the wheelchair-bound but complexly diverse), in addition to the Agendas of Multiculturalism and Victimism.

11:34 PM  
Blogger publion said...

It’s fatuous to presume that this vast and complicated mob of interacting dynamics will display congruence or symbiosis at every turn.

While the white upper-class females of the core Old Cadres of feminism largely restricted themselves publicly to going after white males (conveniently, the actual ‘oppressor’ in most of their marriages and relationships) for the sake of a certain comity among Identities, yet their general anti-male agenda has had its effects across racial lines.

And as you say, the economic collapse has sunk the boats of males across the Correct lines, taking Us back – neatly – to the abiding unity of the ECONOMICALLY OPPRESSED of the period 1880-1940.

And it strikes me that grappling with the widely-acknowledged human concern for ECONOMIC sufficiency is far more appropriate and workable for a government (especially a limited one) than trying to Deconstruct and Reconstruct the hearts and minds and culture of the Citizenry, trying to exert the sovereign power (including the police power) in matters of opinions, thoughts, appearances, and other such non-material actualities.

There is a certain humility proper to a limited government that the cadres of the recent Revolutions here sorely lack; even the Romans, well known for their ability to cut a road through a mountain if they had to, had no illusions that they could flatten entire mountain ranges just to spare their legions the task of marching on up-grades. They accepted that there were going to be hills and up-grades in life and no amount of imperial power or fiat could eliminate that.

.

11:36 PM  
Blogger publion said...

As for the ‘war’ thoughts, I wonder if Rosin’s new Party-line for ‘business’ (testosterone-addled males vs. sensitively-cool and rights-respecting females) is becoming the new Correct Party-line in the military.

The efforts in there were very much the efforts of the 1990s (women would ‘demasculinze’ the military and that was a Good Thing) – but there was a divergence even there.

The military career-lesbians were more eager to prove their military chops as equals to the males; whereas the non-military feminists were interested in watering down the standards in order to provide jobs, economic opportunity, and overall female status for a much larger pool of straight young females who would only serve a tour or two and then get out of the Service.

There was for a while in Afghanistan a Marine Corps-led effort to try to make some use of the females it had to take along by creating some sort of all-female teams who would go into villages on the assumption that ‘women’ would be less threatening. This seemed to envision that the US females would start up a network of Tupperware parties (so to speak) in the interest of US objectives. But in a male-and-elder dominated culture, I can’t imagine that (unless the cagey Afghans saw some profit in it) the leaders would want to demean themselves by interacting with females.

11:38 PM  
Blogger publion said...

Your Lysistrata reference is apt although I’d say that the current situation is more complicated: all of the Greek women were united in wanting to prevent the waste and wrack of combat; whereas the current scene is divided between the larger number of females who no doubt finds little excitement in the actual experience of warring (and see the military much more as a job and education opportunity), and then the ‘mannish lesbian’ subgroup (who may well want to make a career of the military) that to some extent does show a bit more of an androgen-testosterone type characteristic, i.e. to some extent (although generally lesser than males) they do get something of a kick out of doing the guy stuff.

I think that for the most part the Revolution has sought to avoid any such sub-categorization efforts: because a) it would distract from the overall effort simply to get females insinuated into the Services and b) because any opportunity for serious thinking and analysis of the actualities could rapidly spin out of the Revolution’s control, raising issues and perspectives that would not be ‘useful’ to the Revolution.

If folks got the idea that the whole women-in-the-military thing has been primarily for objectives that have nothing to do with military efficacy, but rather were intended to sacrifice military efficacy for purposes of providing short-term job and education opportunities for straight females or career-promotion opportunities for lesbians (all the foregoing clothed tastefully as ‘constitutional rights’ of one sort or another … that level of public awareness of its actual objectives would be something that the Revolution would probably not want to have to deal with

11:38 PM  
Blogger James said...

I could not help stop thinking of Rosin's. That her article could even find publication is a wonder. I would not accept such a paper from one of my students.

It also reminds me of an article in the Atlantic about 5 years or so ago, on how the 'servitude' of poor Eastern European and South American women as nannies and domestics was what really allowed "women" to "succeed" in politics and business. Rosin's work was such a piece of class interest masking as gender advancement.

It reminds me too of Ben Michaels' book "The Trouble with Diversity." At one point he commented on the absurdity of comparing the plight of a women working at Wallmart who made (approx) $10 an hour to the men's $11 with the 'plight' of a woman lawyer who was making something like 2 million to the 4 million of the men in her company.

8:37 AM  
Blogger publion said...

Rosin’s article is part of the recent stream of what I have called feminist ‘victory lap’ histories. Perhaps in trying to cram everything into a much shorter article-length piece she inadvertently reveals the true architecture – to put it generously – of the whole thing.

Surely, she joins her book-writing sistern in revealing what passes among the cadres themselves for critical analysis of their movement and doings.

I wonder too if they realize that their Wave has now crested, and that and that it is now essential to lock in whatever they have managed to do.

And that as their generation passes, it is essential to put a final spin as a preventive strike at more sober and honest assessment of the consequences. I think, in this regard, of Teddy Kennedy’s sick-making autobiography. On Wall Street I think this gambit is called ‘talking your book’: talking up a stock you have already quietly invested in as if you were a disinterested observer, in order to move people to buy in and drive up its value.

While I am no expert on the expansive labyrinth of the organized advocacies for matters relating to women, I gather that there is and has been a significant controversy to the effect that ‘feminism’ as it is known today has merely served to advance the employment and status prospects of a small select elite of mostly white upper-class women, not only leaving others – of color and from poor backgrounds, as you indicate – behind, but actually turning them into part of the network of support stones by which they have built their queasy mansions.

Surely this has been the case in the military, where a relatively small self-selected elite of careerists have used the aspirations and – I will say it – illusions of many young women of poor background in order to lever themselves into advanced status and rank, at whatever cost to military efficacy. (In that regard, I note that at last official count – very recent – the Navy now has just over 340 admirals and just under 285 ships.)

8:57 PM  
Blogger James said...

I think they believe that there is always another wave behind this one - they speak of waves of feminism (and not to mention the Navy use of the term). What is also interesting here is that while they want to eliminate gender distinctions they are doing all they can to emphasize racial and ethnic distinctions. I always wondered about this.

7:52 PM  
Blogger publion said...

I’ve always felt – and I said in a Post about a Harvard professor’s book last year ('Janet Halley - Take A Break from Feminism' of 11/23/09)– that going over the list of ‘schools’ of feminist thought is like reviewing the sub-grouping in early Soviet ‘thought’ – right-deviationists, left-deviationists, Mensheviks, Bolsheviks, Trotskyites, and so forth. Ditto your apt point about the assorted Waves.

Granted a school of thought may develop over time, but with feminism it seems to me more a case of letting any ‘approach’ in as ‘valid’ – even when it is mutually incompatible with other approaches or is simply conceptually incoherent.

The reason is that there is no real intellectual basis and hence no intellectual spine to feminism: there is an Objective, make more ‘freedom’ for ‘women’, and if you have to do that by clearing away ‘obstructions’ and going after ‘patriarchy’ and ‘men’ then do it.

Beyond that, there is no Ground because the movement will accept no limitations on its possibilities (for realizing the Objectives) and every Grounding Idea limits as well as provides shape. Shape itself limits as a natural operation and by definition.

So the ‘schools’ and ‘Waves’ are really the sly application of the conventional terms of intellectual categorization to a phenomenon that is primarily political (like Lenin’s) and uses Ideas (and Reality) only as tools to achieve its purposes. The search for Truth “ain’t in it” and so any ‘truths’ it claims to have found are purely of the agitprop and political kind; and thereby almost impossible to validate or falsify.

This is why from the beginning the cadres have avoided debate, limiting themselves to statements or to mutual-admiration Party feel-good sessions.

Curiously, this reminds me of two historical phenomena: a) the Leninist refusal to engage in debate with other groups or critics (because, Lenin figured, he was already right and they were wrong so why waste the time?). The second, and there is a time-correlation here, is the Israeli strategy of avoiding the damaging elephant in the middle of the room and at the base of your project by limiting yourself to statements and not engaging formally and publicly in any active debate: there’s too much of a risk of winding up publicly unable to defend a well-made and incisive criticism without admitting the huge difficulty at the very base and core of your position.

8:17 AM  

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