February 16, 2007

Enough Time Spent on the Privilege-Impaired

A brief followup to this post yesterday concerning the lamentable Schaller.

With what I now realize is his typical "charm," Schaller attempts to "clarify a few things for those whose dander is up." Don't you just hate it when your dander is aroused? Such a distressing state of affairs. Schaller's "clarification" comes largely from the "if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit" school of debate. It is remarkable only for its windiness, pretentiousness, and transparent defensiveness.

I responded thusly:
Mr. Schaller: I may well have more on this tomorrow at my blog. For now, just a couple of very brief points.

Re your first argument: just the slightest touch of ironic self-awareness would have helped a great deal with this hoary effort to prove your liberal "cred."

My favorite of your arguments is probably point four. Please note: when a targeted, frequently vilified minority makes jokes about its oppressors, that is not *exactly* the same thing as the privileged making jokes at the expense of those they persecute. Not exactly. If you inquired further into the matter, you might find the dynamics to be entirely different. But I'm just thrilled to hear you're not in a "tizzy" about it. For a writer, you have one of the biggest damned tin ears I have ever seen.

Two very general points: the sense of entitlement among straight men is absolutely boundless -- and most of them are not remotely aware of it at all.

And there is one sentence that you are apparently unable to write: "I'm very sorry if I offended some of you."

That last point actually may say it all. I think I might just have concluded this discussion is not worth pursuing.
Schaller's first argument is, I kid you not: "But why are you so upset with me, honey chile? Dem nigras is some of my best friends!" I thought my eyes would pop out of my head when I first read it.

But Schaller's point four is definitely my favorite. Imagine your local plantation owner around, say, 1820:
Ah just don't understand why you're so angry, you sweet li'l thing! Why, sho we makes fun of our nigras. But dem nigras makes fun of us white folk! Ah knows they do; ah heard 'em mahself! Ain't that exactly the same thing, girly? But see, sweet thing? Ah'm not even upset about it! Ain't ah just the grandest person you evah did meet?
At which point, he erupts with raucous laughter, and noisily and messily slugs down another Mint Julep.

And now, I think we've spent far more time on Schaller than he deserves. But this issue of straight male privilege is a very important one. One of my earlier essays (that got temporarily lost, along with many others, when I moved the blog) dealt with it in some detail, and I'll try to repost it later today or over the weekend.