June 14, 2011

A Post I'm Crazy About: "Real, Full Members of the Human Race"

This one, from Violet Socks.

I'm crazy about all of it and strongly recommend you read it in its entirety. I want to highlight two passages in particular. First (my emphasis):
Women are the vagina animals, and one way or another, their vaginas are always the story.

Feminism is about saying to hell with all of that. “The proposition that women are fully human” is one way feminism has been summarized, and it means just that. Not the sex class, not the breeding stock adjunct of the default (male) humans, but real, full members of the human race. And feminism calls for a world where women can go about being doctors and lawyers and technicians and students and normal citizens without their sexual characteristics always being the story. The way men can.
And second:
I’m writing this because I’m sick of people pretending that sexual harassment isn’t any kind of offense at all. As a feminist, I want women to be able to walk through the world as something more than just fuck receptacles accompanied by a bluesy sax track. And I’m sick of alleged “progressives” dismissing that as prudery or fainting-couch hysteria.

It’s not. It’s feminism.
The perspective reflected in Violet's post and in these excerpts strongly reminded me of part of my argument in "We Are Not Freaks." I wrote that essay in response to remarks by (surprise!) a straight, "liberal-progressive" man in a post at TAPPED, and the essay discusses what is often horrifyingly awful about common "liberal-progressive" attitudes toward gays and lesbians. In part, I wrote:
When you strip away all the verbiage, all the intellectual tap dancing, and all the efforts to "understand" and be "tolerant," that is the inescapable, the terrible bottom line: many of you think we are Freaks. Speaking for myself with regard to these issues, I don't want you to "understand" me or to be "tolerant" of me. I don't want you to "study" me, and try to graph all the various points of similarity and difference between us: I want you to recognize that I am completely and entirely a human being, just as you are. And I want you to understand fully what that means, and to genuinely mean it.
I won't belabor the parallels, for I think they should be clear.

I'll also repeat my concluding remarks from that essay (written over four years ago), for my reaction to those "liberals-progressives" who exhibit the attitude I examined has only intensified over time. And note that most of those "liberals-progressives" are the same people who minimize or excuse Weiner's behavior in one way or another:
I'm 58 now. I first became aware that most of you think I'm a Freak almost half a century ago. You should think about what that means, what it does to a person, and about the survival strategies we are forced to adopt, often so that we can simply get through the day.

And then think about what you need to change -- not about me, but about yourselves. I am not an object for your amusement, for your ridicule, or for your disgusting "jokes," just as I am not the subject for your earnest and "well-intentioned" discussions about "policy."

I am not a Freak. To those of you who think I am, no matter how subtly, and to those of you who have to exert so much diligent effort in your miserable attempt to "understand" and "tolerate" me, I now have only one thing to say:

God damn you to hell.
More informally, I would say: you fucking bastards.

Speaking of which, I listened to Rush Limbaugh for a while yesterday. In one sense, I suppose it's a consolation of some kind (let's mercifully not specify what kind more particularly) that certain facets of our world remain forever unchanged. Limbaugh confirmed for the several millionth time that he is one of the most destructive, hateful and nauseating figures on the American scene. His remarks about Weiner were of clinical interest to me, because his perspective is an abhorrently common one in our diseased culture.

For Limbaugh, the reason Weiner "is the way he is," the reason he's been "neutered" and prevented from being "a real man" is ... c'mon, you know where this is going. The reason Weiner has to "act out" and "let loose" in his internet communications with females (and, I myself am certain although Limbaugh didn't make the argument, in many of his in-person dealings with women) is: the liberal-progressive women who raised him. Even though Limbaugh included the obligatory "I'm not excusing what he did" point, his primary message was that, however awful, offensive, disgusting and bat-shit insane Weiner's behavior was, it wasn't his fault. The fault, as is always the case from this perspective, is woman's.

Limbaugh compared Weiner's scandal to Obama eating junk food when he escapes the "neutering," "real-man"-killing embrace of Michelle Obama. She makes him eat bean sprouts all the time! No wonder Barack wolfs down crap food when he's "free" to be true to his "real," God- and nature-given glorious male self. Don't you find it marvelous that we have the profound, sophisticated insights of Doc Limbaugh to explain the otherwise mysterious complexities of our political-social-cultural lives?

Not so by the way, the repugnant Andrew Sullivan agrees with Limbaugh's view of what constitutes being "a real man": "Can we please accept he was just texting while male?" Isn't it also marvelous that Sullivan and Limbaugh, who appear to disagree about so many other issues, are in perfect harmony on the subject of being "a real man"?

Please pay attention, because I probably won't repeat this anytime soon: Andrew Sullivan is an utterly contemptible pig of a human being. It may be a grievous personal failing on my part, but I hadn't appreciated that being "male" meant that you say "hello" to everyone and anyone by pulling out your cock. Furthermore, and I personally view this as tragic beyond my capacity to describe, saying "hello" by pulling out your cock isn't even common behavior among gay men (except for bathhouses, and a particular kind of gay bar or private club). And, no, Sullivan is not redeemed in the least by his admission of "error" about his support for Bush and his foreign policy -- he didn't admit any error that mattered, although he fooled many mentally-challenged readers into believing that he had -- and even his condemnation of torture is so woefully erroneous in its focus that it renders his opposition meaningless. On this last point, you can read two lengthy articles whenever you have time and interest: this one, and this one. And you might also read this examination of Charles Krauthammer's support for torture, for I argue that Sullivan and Krauthammer make the same fundamental error despite coming down on opposite sides of the narrower question.

(I freely give the following idea to any cartoonist who wants to use it. As I was writing this, I suddenly had a vision of a hairy apeman creature with a huge, bulging belly. His apelike arms are extended; in one hand, he holds an overstuffed hamburger dripping cheese, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup and God knows what, and in the other hand, he holds his cock. The caption: "A REAL Man Says 'Hi,' According to Limbaugh-Sullivan.")

The sickeningly pathetic argument that, no matter what despicable acts men might commit, the fault is always woman's calls to mind this passage from my article, "Kill That Woman!" (Oscar Wilde's superlative play, Salome, provided the framework for my analysis):
Herod had set the terms of the contest, and Salome used them for her own ends. She fought on his terms, but she outwitted the man who had set the rules. She humiliated him -- and she got what she wanted.

For Herod -- for most men -- this is intolerable. It is inconceivable to Herod -- just as it is inconceivable to most men -- that the fault or the responsibility should be his. The fault and the responsibility must be Salome's. The fault and the responsibility must always be woman's. In any confrontation between a man and a woman in our culture, there is only one party to be punished: the woman. So it was with Salome, and so it is with Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.

Kill that woman. That is the motive, and that is the goal. To the extent women are successful, to the extent they threaten men's monopoly on power and control, they must be demeaned, diminished, treated with unending cruelty, and mocked. When all else fails, they must be eliminated. Kill that woman.

So ends our story for today.
If you doubt how common the Limbaugh-Sullivan view is, I again refer you to, "Christ, Men Are Awful," where I document a number of men who called into one radio show to agree emphatically that the only reason men resort to violence against women (or at least want to) is because women are Evil Incarnate. It's always the woman's fault, even if a man murders her. She asked for it.

As I indicated in the concluding remarks of my last post, I still have more to say about this disgusting Weiner episode. My focus in the upcoming article(s) will be on the various ways in which the oppressive, deadly system under which we try to live has distorted and coopted the approach of even those who condemn and protest against that system.

In a discussion of the beginning of what was positively guaranteed to be the "brief" (!!) intervention in Libya, I mentioned how difficult I often find it these days to read "dissenting" writers. The reactions to the sordid Weiner crap provide a further opportunity to explain why I find most "dissenters" to fall lamentably short of the mark. I wrote in the earlier post that one way of describing the failing I discern is to note that the dissenters "are all so goddamned, fucking polite."

I need to set out what I meant in more detail. Next time for that.