Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Scourge Of Princes

"I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies."

- Pietro Aretino

Friday, 15 March 2013

Adam

Yes, for someone who doesn't own a working television set, I sure am watching a lot of TV shows.

It all began about 10 years ago, first with Buffy, then The Sopranos & The Wire, when a small number of TV shows started - for the very first time - to be as well-written & played out as just about any movie, free from the obviously commercial motives & accompanying censorship that had always cheapened that activity before. There were the first signs that television as a medium had the possibility of genuine artistic expression. Recently those early hopes have been flowering with the likes of Breaking Bad, Louie, Enlightened & Lena Dunham's Girls, which I am at this moment in time thoroughly hooked on.

Girls is, for the most part, a comedy, & a very funny one at that, but its greater value is in its refusing to flinch from showing the results of young 21st century women's choices, as well as all the raw realities of modern relationships in a post-feminist world. It's also perhaps the only TV show made for women that genuinely likes men, depicting their lives as something greater than accessories & utilities for women, their experiences & emotions as important as those of their female counterparts. Like a Miranda July movie told in 25 minutes, Girls is brave & thoughtful & original & always has something new to tell me. Tonight I saw the latest episode & one scene in particular is really haunting me right now.

For the uninitiated, the back-story is that Adam, a very strange, very intense, antisocial loner, fresh out of being dumped by the show's main protagonist Hannah, has met & started having sex with this amazing, perfect - perhaps too perfect - new girl & all is going swimmingly for the first week. Then at a party Adam bumps into Hannah again & old feelings of longing, hurt & betrayal are stirred up. He takes his new girlfriend back to his place for the first time & this happens:

video


Now, I don't know how much of this can be understood without the context, without a familiarity with the many different facets of this particular character but in any other show - even one written by a man - this would be the point where you are meant to realize that this fellow is The Bad Guy, the villain unmasked, perhaps even a murderer or a serial rapist. Some kind of perverted creep, anyway. But that isn't what's being shown here.

Adam had a relationship in which his unvarnished animal nature was accepted & appreciated & his compulsive sexuality gave pleasure to the woman he was with. He is testing Natalia, the new girl, to see if she will turn away from him when she sees him in all his grimy imperfection, if she will leave him too the moment her rose-tinted spectacles slip from her eyes.

There is a scene earlier on, when they first fuck, where she tells him in an oddly precise way what she 'wants', what her 'rules' are (him on top, no soft touching, & come outside of her body). So here, later on, he fucks her in a very cold, selfish way, pushing at her boundaries, yet still managing to not break her rules. Do you see? Something in him needs to rebel, to be free, to fuck her the way he is being driven to in that moment, trying to fuck the pain away, but he is still trying to be a good dog, to work within her wishes even while straining at the leash. He is pushing her away & pulling her to him all at the same time. He doesn't even know himself why he's doing what he's doing, he just knows something is compelling him to do it, & as soon as it's over, his confusion & despair is overwhelming. At the end he is both challenging her to leave him & terrified she will.

I recognize a part of my fundamental male self in Adam, & I found this scene very, very moving, in ways I cannot really explain. There is something being said there about a particular emotional need that is fulfilled when a men 'takes' a woman that we still really have no language for, & in our society is kept entirely shrouded in shame.

I've always found the language of relationships largely female anyway (I have a theory interpersonal language was mostly developed by women 'round the firepit while the men were all out at the hunt) & men end up being forced to use Oprah-friendly terms that (apparently) make sense to women to try describe biological drives & experiences that really lie outside of anything most women can understand or even want to acknowledge exist. In our present society, if that essential part of men is acknowledged to exist at all, it is only to triumphantly hold it up as proof that 'all men are rapists'. No human being wants to be told that their deepest, most private, central core is at heart a sick, dirty criminal beast, so almost all men work their hardest to hide their natural desire, & the acceptance of it they so badly crave, in hopes of proving they are 'good' after all.

Halfway through writing this I looked online to try find the name of the Natalia character & found - to, I'm sorry to say, very little astonishment - that the net is aglow with rabid discussion as to whether the scene is 'really rape' or only 'grey rape' - you know, that kind of Rape they can't lock you up for, yet. That's really sad. I don't think that was Dunham's intent at all, but then you know the world is crammed full of crazy as much as I do. Some days the bullshit is so thick the best you can do is put your foot down as hard as you can & turn the windscreen wipers on.

Like I say, I've come up against that wall of expression & I don't really have the words for any of this, but the show & this scene in particular somehow managed to make some of what needed to be said take visible form outside of language altogether. So I want to thank Lena Dunham for making it. It sucks being a man in this day & age but the future seems a lot less scary with voices like hers in it.

Friday, 8 March 2013

How To Lose Friends & Alienate People, Vol.3

Aw come on now... everyone loves a trilogy...

Those previous pieces reminded me to dig out a letter I sent to one of those friends I lost when I first got on board with this way of thinking, three or four years ago. It was one long-ass screed, & most of it would be old news to anyone familiar with the MHRM now, but some of the things I said still hold up so I thought I would dust off some of the better extracts here. 

This is the last of it, I promise, but bear in mind while reading: we were best friends for over 12 years. She never replied to this letter, & I never heard from her again.

------------------


When I last talked with [mutual friend] he tried to convince me to be more specific about which 'branch' of feminism I think is harmful, for fear of upsetting anyone. I've taken this on board, & am trying to integrate it into my thinking but I'm still not truly convinced: it seems to me like being forced to pick which kind of Coca-Cola I want when I don't want Coca-Cola at all, I want water.

Feminism is not 'women', anymore than Communism is 'the masses': the masses don't give a poo about Communism, by & large. In both cases you have a group that deigns to speak for all the people it simply claims as members.

It's like me starting a group called 'The Friendly Foxes Club', that does some work towards helping protect foxes from being hunted. You look into it & see that yes, my group is mad about foxes, but it turns out is also full of really unpleasant people who go out every weekend hunting rabbits.

BUT, the thing is, if you don't join my group, it means you hate foxes.

Well, that's kind of how I feel about feminism right now. The idea that if you believe in equality for all then you believe in feminism is so obviously illogical that it stops me in my tracks whenever I hear it said. How can any group with a gender in its name purport to be acting wholly in the interests of the entire human race? If feminism is truly 'about equality', show me three public statements by any prominent feminist spokesperson saying even one thing positive about men. I've not really looked but I'm fairly sure you can't do it, & yet even 15 seconds with google can get me things like this:



"I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig."
- Andrea Dworkin

"All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman."
- Catherine MacKinnon 

"(Rape) is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear".
Susan Brownmiller
 
"Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience."
- Catherine Comin, Vassar College. Assistant Dean of Students.


There's a lot more where those came from. A hell of a lot more. 45 years worth. And I don't hear feminists of any kind actually denounce statements like these - instead of treating these inhuman, hateful proclamations as the toxic, genocidal rantings they are, the feminists I have met & read seem to regard them as slightly batty aunts that we might not fully agree with after they've had a few but certainly aren't going to say anything bad about because they're family. And besides, Aunt Andrea might go a bit far sometimes, further than we would, but essentially..... she's right.

The problem with mainstream feminism is there is no prominent speaker or author who holds up any of those statements & says 'this is not what we stand for'; 'Andrea Dworkin, we repudiate your hate-speech, Catherine MacKinnon, we repudiate your hate'.. And that is why feminism can never be about equality. And it's also that which tells you what Feminism as a movement is actually all about. Which is the demonization of men in order to acquire political influence & financial power.

Imagine if Jewish spokespeople made statements like 'the population of [the goyim] must be reduced until they approximate only 10% of the population': how much generosity of spirit would we feel towards them then? Or, conversely, what would we think about a person who would write graffiti saying 'dead [Jews] don't rape'?

How could you work alongside people with such hateful ideas? What kind of world would be made by allying yourself with people who think like that?

Feminism is, as you say, a relatively young movement, but it's had enough time to demonstrate its intents. In 40 years it has risen to an astonishing level of power & influence - its demands & petitions are respected like papal bulls in the media, the courts, the workplace, parliaments, schools & universities across the world. It reminds me of that quote by Alan Watts about the difference between a religion & a cult. He said there is none: a religion is simply a cult that has grown too large to be pushed around by the government. Well, feminism is a religion now, not a cult. It's large enough to be scrutinized & held to account.

But it isn't. Ever.

The points you brought up - female circumcision & the female vote - are not really applicable to make any case for modern feminism today in the west. One occurs in small pockets in a culture as far removed from our own as we can get, & the other occurred a hundred years ago. Both are exaggerated & used to whip up emotions to hurry through laws that penalize men & give women special privileges. I'm not disputing that both of these things are horrific or unjust, but it's a lazy, latch-ditch argument that gets thrown out too much simply to silence any dissent at all. What laws are there today that discriminate against women in Britain & America?

While it's true that 100 years ago women could not vote in this country, before 1832, neither could 90% of all men. And after that it was only, at most, 1 in 5, & these almost all rich or middle-class. 'Men', as a group, only got the vote in 1918 (along with women over 30, & 10 years later all women). This means that there was actually only 10 years in british history when 'Men' as a group had the vote & women didn't.

The reason I'm pointing this out is that it shows the essential division is not about gender but about wealth & class & always has been. The great majority of everybody who has ever lived has been poor & disadvantaged. To be angry at & to blame 'men' - billions & billions of men - for all the ills of the world is not only hateful but patently absurd.


I did a little research myself the other day about wealth, & found that in the whole world, the number of people who have a million dollars is 0.13% of the population. That's a tenth of 1 percent of the world.

Now, think about this: these people aren't truly wealthy - they have no special power or influence, for the most part they're just working people made good. A friend of mine, for instance, co-owns & runs a small chain of restaurants. They're doing quite well. I'm not sure what sort of money they pull in but I imagine it can't be too far off that in total. If she were to keep working hard a few more years I expect she could sell it all up & get her million. That wouldn't make her Rich - she wouldn't have yachts & mansions & what have you, & she would have no more power & influence in the world than she - or anyone I know - has ever had. She might be able to live without working if she lived very frugally, but that would be about it.

Above these people there are the super-rich, which are people with, say, $30 million. These are the people we think of when we talk about 'wealth'. These people do have yachts, & they get preferential treatment wherever they go, regardless of their sex. The laws of society apply differently to them, & there are only 85,400 of them in the world. I've not worked out what percentage that is of the world population but I think we can be sure that it is only a very small fraction of that previously mentioned 0.1% of the real world, of humanity.

Above them still are the billionaires: out of the nearly 7 billion people in the world there are only 793 of them. Imagine a football stadium. Now imagine a pea in the middle.....

By the way, 84% of all these millionaires & billionaires - men or women - are married & have children. This is an important point because once we realize that, we see that we are not talking about gender anymore but families, organizations, dynasties.. The wife of every wealthy man is pretty much as wealthy as he is: if he dies, she gets the money. If she divorces him she gets half, or something like. And when both of them die, the kids get it, regardless of their sex.

It should be obvious to all that the issue is not whether men or women hold the reins of political power - the families & corporations that hold practically all the wealth & resources of planet earth are an infinitesimal tiny minority, & it really doesn't matter the sex of them, because there's so few of them & their lives & concerns are so different to ours. 

To say that 'men', as a group, have 'power' is a fallacy. And to say that 'men' have it easy is a revolting lie. It's hard all over, for practically everyone. And it's probably always been that way. Whatever vision of the world we want for the future has to be a world where we acknowledge that, & love people for being people, to work towards making a better world for all. And Feminism is not the way to bring this about, as it only works towards ends that give power to one half of them.



> the white male has had it too good for too long for me to feel too concerned with his
> 'rights' or perceive 'gender feminism' as 'sinful'... with all the wrongs
> in this word, this is not one that's high on my personal agenda of
> perceived threats to the planet and/or humanity's development.



99.9% of all the millions & millions slaughtered in battle this past hundred years are men, men & boys. Only men in our society are forcibly conscripted. Men's bodies are not considered their own - they have to go to the front & allow themselves to be murdered or else be shot as a traitor. 9 out of 10 of those British working class men sent to their deaths in the first world war didn't even have the vote.


Are these the white males who have had it so good for so long?

More than 93% of all fatalities at work are men - 93% of everyone who dies at work, anywhere, is male. Why is that? Because only men are expected to do the jobs in which you can die.


What does this tell us about how we see men & womens place & worth in the world?
 
Men are 90% of the homeless & 80% of the suicides - that last one the world over [with the exception of China, if I remember correctly]. I don't see how, by any stretch of the imagination, men can be said to be having it easy. It's a myth. Or rather, it's a vile fallacy propagated entirely by feminism...


------

Well, I'll wrap it up there. Reading it over again, it puzzles me just what that friend of mine found so ugly & unforgivable that she felt duty-bound to end all contact with me. It's a strange old world & doesn't seem to make a great deal of sense but I've started to accept that as a reliable base-camp to set out from. And as I've said before, it is only ideology that can make good people do bad things: me, her, you... all of us have to be vigilant of the hypnotic pull of our beliefs. Here endeth the lesson for today.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Feminist History Month

March is Feminist History Month so we thought we'd do our bit in highlighting some of the real-life events from the past 50 years in the feminist historical narrative, such as this great leap forward in the hitherto glass-ceilinged patriarchal world of superheroes in 1975. Ms Valkyrie later went on to brutally kill off Spiderman, Iron Man, Batman, Superman... in fact all the male characters in the Marvel & DC universes by the end of the 1970s, helping to create the peaceful, egalitarian, female-only society we now enjoy today:


Next week: Valerie Solanas completes construction of her first concentration camp & sticks it to The Man!