Romance, Political Correctness and Power Hunger

I was recently reading the following passage from THE CITY OF THE CHASCH by Jack Vance. In this scene, Adam Reith pursues an abducted space princess Ylin Ylan the Flower of Cath, who has been taken for sacrifice by the Priestesses of the Female Mystery:

The Seminary of the Female Mystery occupied an irregular flat area surrounded by crags and cliffs. A massive four-story edifice of stone was built in a ravine, to straddle a pair of crags. Elsewhere were sheds of timber and wattle, animal pens and hutches, outbuildings, cribs and racks. Directly below Adam Reith a platform projected from the hill, with a two-story building to the sides and the rear.

Gala events were in progress. Flames from dozens of flambeaux cast red, vermilion and orange light upon two hundred women who moved back and forth, half-dancing, half-lurching, in a state of entranced frenzy. They wore black pantaloons, black boots and were elsewhere naked, with even the hair shaved from their heads. Many were without breasts, displaying a pair of angry red scars: these women, the most active, marched and trooped, bodies glistening with sweat and oil. Others sat on benches slack and dull, resting, or exalted beyond mere frenzy. Below the platform, in a row of low cages, a dozen naked men stood crouched. These men produced the harsh chant Reith had heard from the hills.

When one faltered, jets of flame spurted up from the floor beneath him, and he once more screamed his loudest. The flames were controlled from a keyboard in the front; here sat a woman dressed completely in black, and it was she who orchestrated the demoniac uproar.

A singer collapsed. Jets of flame only caused him to twitch. He was dragged forth; a bag of transparent membrane was pulled over his head and tied at the neck; he was tossed into a rack at the side. Into the cage was thrust another singer: a strong young man, glaring in hatred. He refused to sing, and suffered the jets in furious silence. A priestess came forward, blew a waft of smoke into his face; presently he sang with the rest.

How they hated men! thought Reith. A troupe of entertainers appeared on the stage-tall emaciated clown-men with skins bleached white, eyebrows painted high and black. In horrified fascination Reith watched them cavort and caper and with earnest zest defile themselves, while the priestesses called out in delight.

When the clown-men retired a mime appeared: he wore a wig of long blonde hair, a mask with wide eyes and a smiling red mouth, to simulate a beautiful woman.

Reith thought, They hate not only men, but love and youth and beauty!

As the mime expatiated his shocking message, a curtain to the back of the platform drew back revealing a huge naked cretin, hairy of body and limb, in a state of intense erotic excitement. He worked to gain entry into a cage of thin glass rods, but could not puzzle out the working of the latch. In the cage cowered a girl wearing a gown of thin gauze.

Adam Reith does rescue the girl, and they become lovers, but, in typical Jack Vance fashion, the oddness of her peculiar cult and culture is an insurmountable barrier: indeed, finding herself unintentionally humiliated, the Flower of Cath suffers a ritualized form of manic insanity called awaile and goes on a killing spree, only to fall to her death at sea from the rigging.

I was reminded of the ritualized insanity of the Caths when I read this passage, not from a fiction book:

It would be many years before I would understand that femininity, the practice of femininity, and the fetishization of femininity degrades all women. That femininity is not a “choice” when the alternative is derision, ridicule, workplace sanctions, or ostracization. That femininity is a set of degrading behaviors that communicates one’s level of commitment to male authority and women’s oppression. That femininity is coerced appeasement, regardless of how successfully it is now marketed to young women as feminism.

So says Jill Twisty at her blog I Blame the Patriarchy. The paragraph continues:

That femininity is a set of degrading behaviors that communicates one’s level of commitment to male authority and women’s oppression. That femininity is coerced appeasement, regardless of how successfully it is now marketed to young women as feminism.

And her ‘About’ page states:

Patriarchy, which invisibly persists as the world’s most popular social order, is a really bad scene based on an oppressive paradigm fetishizing dominance and submission. Benefits in this culture of domination are accrued according to a rigid hierarchy at the top of which are rich honky adult males and at the bottom of which are poor female children of color. Within this hierarchy, women, regardless of race or any other status markers, constitute a sub-human sex class.

[...]

Women will never enjoy fully human status until patriarchy is dismantled.

The Twistolution envisions a post-patriarchal order free of male privilege, rape, misogyny, femininity, theocracy, corporatocracy, gender, race, deity worship, marriage, discrimination, prostitution, exploitation, godbags, the nuclear family, reproduction, caste, violence, the oppression of children, the oppression of animals, poverty, pornography, and government interference with: private uteruses, non-abusive domestic arrangements, drug habits, lives, and deaths.

Looking over the laundry list of things this Utopia would abolish, in addition to oppression, poverty and violence, is such things a femininity, deity worship, the nuclear family, and reproduction.

I was reminded of this ritual insanity again.  Cracked, unfortunately living up to their name in this article, 5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women,  has one David Wong attempting to explain Rush Limbaugh’s contempt for Miss Flukes as misogyny in terms of a general and pervasive misogyny that afflicts all men. (Mr Wong does not, of course, take the contempt at face value: the idea that commanding Catholics to provide you contraception free of charge indicates moral corruption of the first order.)

The first reason David Wong gives is that we males are promised by society that men are owed a beautiful woman. To prove his point, he lists some stories where the men win the love of the beautiful woman by their heroism, charm, bravery, diligence, and so on.

 We were told this by every movie, TV show, novel, comic book, video game and song we encountered. When the Karate Kid wins the tournament, his prize is a trophy and Elisabeth Shue. Neo saves the world and is awarded Trinity. Marty McFly gets his dream girl, John McClane gets his ex-wife back, Keanu “Speed” Reeves gets Sandra Bullock, Shia LaBeouf gets Megan Fox in Transformers, Iron Man gets Pepper Potts, the hero in Avatar gets the hottest Na’vi, Shrek gets Fiona, Bill Murray gets Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters, Frodo gets Sam, WALL-E gets EVE … and so on.

Hell, at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman, Richard Gere walks into the lady’s workplace and just carries her out like he’s picking up a suit at the dry cleaner.

I note that Mr Wong blithely lists films where the protagonist is dating the girl at the beginning of the film (Back to the Future) and one where the girl is rescued from a dragon and turns out to be an ugly troll (Shrek).

Of the five reasons give why men hate women, oh, pardon me, of the five reasons why SOCIETY trains helpless man-slugs to hate women, the number one reason given is that men feel powerless. Mr Wong addresses his female audience thus:

Go look at a city skyline. All those skyscrapers? We built those to impress you, too. All those sports you see on TV? All of those guys learned to play purely because in school, playing sports gets you laid. All the music you hear on the radio? All of those guys learned to sing and play guitar because as a teenager, they figured out that absolutely nothing gets women out of their pants faster. It’s the same reason all of the actors got into acting.

All those wars we fight? Sure, at the upper levels, in the halls of political power, they have some complicated reasons for wanting some piece of land or access to some resource. But on the ground? Well, let me ask you this — historically, when an army takes over a city, what happens to the women there?

It’s all about you. All of it. All of civilization.

This is really the heart of it, right here. This is why no amount of male domination will ever be enough, why no level of control or privilege or female submission will ever satisfy us. We can put you under a burqa, we can force you out of the workplace — it won’t matter. You’re still all we think about, and that gives you power over us. And we resent you for it.

Notice that in neither of these feminist diatribes is there any mention of love or romance. The descriptions are all tin-eared, as distorted as something in a funhouse mirror.

Notice that both diatribes analyze everything in terms of a power struggle, even the relation between male and female. This is a Marxist conceit which is the core of Political Correctness: it is all about power. It is one of those simple, shallow, one-size fits all answers that answers everything by answering nothing. But I rather doubt all the writers here are aware of where their ideas come from. To the writer, they are merely in the atmosphere, and when he needs a quick answer without much thought, he has a one-answer-fits-all answer ready to hand. If you have actually read history, that topic the Politically Correctoids hate more than they hate philosophy, you know where their ideas are from and what they mean, and you are the one eyed man in the country of the blind.

(Where are the Cracked articles about the cruel jokes Bill Maher made against Palin? Where was the outcry about how men “hate” women? Ah, it is only misogyny if Republicans do it. When Bill Clinton fornicates or rapes, abusing, humiliating, and slandering the women involved in nationwide publicity, while lying under oath about it, feminists offer him oral sex in return for keeping infanticide legal. Like the PC idea that only whites can be racist, only Republicans can be misogynists.)

Notice how astronomically Mr Wong misses the point of the Richard Gere carrying away his girl in his arms as if she were already his bride, and jokes that this is like carrying laundry. I mean, come on, I am a guy, and a hetero guy at that, and even I think that is sexy. If all the ladies who saw that movie did not think likewise, the film would have bombed. Answer me truthfully, ladies: if a beau as handsome as Richard Gere came to your boring workplace and swept you off your feet to carry you away to a quick wedding and a lingering honeymoon, would you regard that as an insult, that he was treating you like laundry?  Or would you think he cherished you?

Yes, I understand Cracked is telling a joke. But the joke is funny if and only if it is a joke, that is, if the jokester does not actually believe it. The kind of joke where you say something the opposite of the truth is also funny, but that is not what is going on here.

Mr Wong, if I may be blunt, is not fooling around. He is being Foolish. What would he prefer? Stories where the hero does not get the girl? He can read Jack Vance.

Would he prefer we read stories where nothing happens at all? I am reminded of the article by Dave Wolverton recently here on my blog, showing how and why socialists want to rob the world of drama.

You see, they think the enemy is all-present and all-powerful falsehood, which is passed along in books and stories. They think you are dumb wax molded by stories at a subconscious level, not that you are a rational animal with a conscious mind who seeks out and selects stories you like. Political Correctness is not concerned with your conscious mind, not concerned with the rational universe. Like witches, Political Correctness is a thing of the moonlight and shadows, a creature of the night.

For this same reason, the Political Correctors are intent on the idea that there is no truth, which you as a rational being have been convinced by your judgment is true. No, you are a slug, and the Powers That Be have a “narrative” which is “marketed” to you, or that you are “trained” to believe. This is why neither of the diatribes above attribute any agency to women or men. There is no talk of the vanity of women wearing lipstick or nylon stockings to attract a man, nor the utility or the glamor of lipstick and heels — for to speak either of the utility or the vanity would be to attribute purposeful action to the woman.

Instead, such things are regarded as a conspiracy of the Cosmetics Industry, or as a Yellow Star forced upon the ghetto-dwelling prisoners of the female species by the Patriarchs, or as some form of mind control or mental prison the poor helpless girl-slugs have been mesmerized into thinking they have volunteered to want by the all-powerful Illuminati. You see how romantic the world of the reality based community is? Everything is witches and wizards and magic spells casting illusions over the peasants, and only the Chosen One, the Messiah of the Prophecy, can slay the Dragon. Good grief. And in the fairy tale, the people are like those trapped in the castle of the Sleeping Beauty, helpless and mindless.

Speaking of robbing the world of drama, the place they want to start is with fairy tales, which are the distilled essence and sum of all drama. Witches don’t like fairy tales because witches don’t prosper in fairy tales.

Speaking of fairy tales, I am also reminded of this illustration, which, I think, sums up modern feminism nicely:

Disney Princess Politically Corrected

Time does not permit me to correct the various misinterpretations of the various Disney princesses one by one, so I will confine myself to noting that if Ariel the mermaid is condemned for learning to walk in order that she wed a surface-dweller on that grounds that she should have left her body in the condition nature and nature’s God imposed, well, by that logic, neither Ariel, nor any other woman, should indulge in artificial contraception, particularly oral contraceptives which are carcinogens, alter female psychology, and get into the ground water.

I won’t bother speaking to the idea that Ariel gives up her voice to win the Prince. Her voice was what he fell in love with. If the feminist is reduced to the argument that a fairytale about a diabolical deal with a witch is approving of witchcraft rather than disapproving, the argument is so weak a child in a nursery could refute it. The child could identify the bad guy in the tale. The argument here is akin to saying that Aesop approves of sloth because he has the hare sleeping while the turtle wins the race.

Finally, if one should not abandon your family, then, logically, the feminist principle commands that, even as Ariel should have been obedient to her father the sea-king Triton, all daughters should obey their fathers, who can use his parental authority to forbid miscegenation or interracial marriages. It is a sentiment I am sure Shariah Law supports, that bastion of feminist thinking.

Speaking only for myself, I take it as right and proper that a man should abandon his family when he takes a wife, and the two become as one. If I were in love with Ariel, I would give up my feet to go live with her under the sea, or give up anything, because, unlike an economic exchange, in love you don’t give up what you give up: you receive it back, and tenfold.

But why this hatred of romance? Because romance, for men as well for women, is about surrender. Love slays the selfish ego. Why is Don Juan so hateful a character, and why is rape a crime as bad a murder? Because these are the selfish forms of love, the perversion called lust, the mere animal appetite.

So what does the Political Correctness do to denigrate love and romance? You see it above. First, PC dismisses romance as false consciousness, an opiate of the masses, an ideological superstructure. Like Gnostics  of old, who alone deemed themselves wise enough to apprehend that God was a devil and that man is God, the Political Correctors by virtue of their mystical insight understand that romance is a fraud, that love does not exist, and that all sexual intercourse is rape, and that rape is not about sex, it is about power.

Why the continual claim that everything is about power, when it is so obvious that certain things, particularly acts of love and self sacrifice, are not?

Because if love exists, and everything is not always about power, then Political Correctness is false, root and branch. The only love they admire is fornication, or philanthropy.

Power, like money, is a good that is always in demand. A man can be anyone, anyone, up to and including the leader of the free world, adored and flattered by a fawning press, happily married, et cetera, and still crave power. The reason for this is the nature of reality: no one, not even Lucifer the Archangel, has enough power to do everything he wants to do.

The flattery of Political Correctness tells you that the reason why you lack power is because of an evil and oppressive establishment. This establishment can be anything and everything, ‘the man’, the military-industrial complex, the mainstream media, Wall Street, the Jews, the Capitalists, the 1%, the Church, the Phallocracy, the White Male, et cetera et ad nauseam. Political Correctness flatter then tells you to rebel against that establishment so that you will get all the power you need and want.

You can always be envious for more power. No matter how life has satisfied you in all other ways, even the Queen of England or the Empress of China could be a feminist, because she can always envy her stableboy for being male, on the grounds that masculinity grants a magic power she lacked. (One would think that since mothers have the power to bring forth new life, the envy would run the other way, but logic is not the point here: envy is the point.)

Because the hunger for power is never satisfied, the Political Correctness flattery never fails. It is as good in winter as in summer, as good when said to a the richest man in the world as the poorest beggar.

The more vague and the more sinister the ‘establishment’ is, the more failure-proof the Political Correctness flattery is. So, for example, if one thing standing between you and the utopia of power is “racism” then once race-based laws such as the Democrat party’s Jim Crow laws, are overturned, and once customs disapproving of such things as mixed marriages and Blacks in positions of power has basically vanished, then “racism” has to be expanded to include anything and everything, including racial stereotypes flattering the race involved (such as thinking of Jews a smart, or Chinese as hard-working) and has to be discovered in the trivial and innocent of remarks. In other words, “racism” has to move from the real world to the make-believe spirit world of Freud, the “subconscious” mind, where its non-existence cannot proved, ergo its existence cannot be disproved.

As mentioned above, Political Correctness lives in the twilight zone, the subconscious, the land of make believe, where half-misunderstood and half-glimpsed things can be interpreted to be anything. It is the world of Freud, where smoking a cigar is a sublimated Oedipus complex, or Zeus’ desire to castrate Chronos, a world of myth where nothing is as it seems. It is the postmodern world. In the world of sunlight and sanity, things are what they are. In the the postchristian world of arbitrary nonsense, things are what Political Correctness says they are, and anything can be anything: peace is war, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.

If you fight Jim Crow laws, the fight is over the moment the laws are struck down. But if you fight against a foes as subtle and all powerful and invisible as a subconscious yet somehow socially widespread conspiracy whose members do not even themselves know they are agents of evil, well, then, the fight is never-ending.

If the fight is never ending, then the Political Correctness flattery never fails.

143 Comments

  1. Comment by Suburbanbanshee:

    A very good post, showing that the corrupt doctrine of anti-patriarchal feminism and the corrupt doctrine of misogyny (and the sleep-around misogynists of the cult of “game”) are pretty much mirror images.

    I suspect that the other side of all this is the fondness of young men for anime “moe” characters who are younger and whom they can feel sorry for and wish to protect; and for the My Little Pony main characters, who are (though ponies on a funny cartoon show) females with winning personalities who don’t hate males. It’s difficult for the less helpful bits of society to fight a young man’s gallant fondness for girls who can never enter the repro-sexual courting arena with him. He can get to know the characters without being pressured one way or another.

  2. Comment by Nate Winchester:

    I wonder how Jill’s world is going to persist without reproduction.

    All this reminds me of something I read once… where was it. Ah:
    http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2011/03/08/is-%E2%80%9Cconfident%E2%80%9D-the-male-analog-to-%E2%80%9Cthin%E2%80%9D-noh/

    The net result of this is that a preference for ‘confidence’ tends to ratify the patriarchal male dominance structure that most boys grow up in, and to make the attainment of wealth and social status (which often rests on exploitative behavior) a stronger driver for men than for women. And I think this is precisely what fuels some of the underlying ire of so-called “so-called Nice Guys” and elements of the PUA community who express misogynistic and anti-feminist sentiments: a sense of betrayal that the women and feminists who ought to be their natural allies are dissing them instead of allying against what ought to be their common enemy, the dominant, patriarchal male.

    All I could think was, “It’s not the patriarchy you fight, but biology.” Or, to adjust a quote:

    “We might all like Man infinitely better if they were carried on such. But they would not be near so much like a human.”

    • Comment by Foxfier:

      I must admit, getting rid of reproduction is a really novel way of preventing children from being exploited! No kids, no exploitation!

    • Comment by Mary:

      It won’t.

      Many feminists have an attitude about babies that is myopic, suicidical, or willfully hoping not to spread entirely; they either don’t realize how future generations are formed, don’t want humanity to go on, or secretly hope that enough women will be stupid enough to have the babies and be miserably exploited, frequently to the tune of feminist contempt, to keep the world going.

  3. Comment by Stephen J.:

    “Because if love exists, and everything is not always about power, then Political Correctness is false, root and branch.”

    Which reinforces my point that what drives people to embrace PC-think is suffering, their own or another’s; because suffering makes it harder to believe in love (or the worth of what other people call “love”), but easier to believe in power, and more acutely in your own impotence.

    The Devil has always been more plausible an idea than God or Christ, hence the seductiveness of Gnosticism.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      “Which reinforces my point that what drives people to embrace PC-think is suffering…”

      A startling insight! I had been assuming they just wanted to play superman, saving people from imaginary dangers (such as the poverty caused by Capitalism) not that they actually cared about the sufferers. I like your theory better than mine, which is, I confess, appalling in its cynicism.

      “The Devil has always been more plausible an idea than God or Christ, hence the seductiveness of Gnosticism.”

      Amen. As more than one writer has noted, the Fall of Man is the one doctrine of Christianity that requires no faith in which to believe: it is too painfully obvious that man is radically evil. What requires faith is believing and hoping in the cure.

      • Comment by Nate Winchester:

        I think you’re both right, as not every day is good or bad for every person, but we all have “waves” of mountains and valleys.

        Which helps make the idea so persistent. On the good days, the “peaks” of mood, PC allows one to play superman. On the bad days the “depths” of mood, there is nothing in the world but power, and all is forsaken.

      • Comment by Stephen J.:

        In my experience it’s almost always a genuine pity and indignation — quite often a personal one on behalf of a friend, loved one or family member who’s had to endure a legitimate (albeit seldom grievously huge, in retrospect) wrong or injustice — that drives the embrace of PC principles, at least at first.

        But it’s the great weakness of any crusading mindset that the Crusade itself — any Crusade — has a horrible habit of becoming more important, for its own sake, than the goal for which you went Crusading in the first place. Whatever actual, specific instance of suffering one sets out to alleviate rapidly becomes replaced by the Cause of which that suffering is but one example. You start out trying to be Superman because you want to help people, and wind up only trying to help people because it affords you the chance to play Superman. So you’re right too, in the end.

  4. Comment by John Hutchins:

    The Twistolution envisions a post-patriarchal order free of male privilege, rape, misogyny, femininity, theocracy, corporatocracy, gender, race, deity worship, marriage, discrimination, prostitution, exploitation, godbags, the nuclear family, reproduction, caste, violence, the oppression of children, the oppression of animals, poverty, pornography, and government interference with: private uteruses, non-abusive domestic arrangements, drug habits, lives, and deaths.

    So the Twistolution envisions a world where a massive asteroid comes down and destroys all life on earth, apparently. Someone should inform them that their utopia already exists on places like Mercury, Venus, and (possibly) Mars.

    • Comment by Stephen J.:

      Strictly speaking, Jill would probably say that it’s the concepts, which she sees as essentially discriminatory (and unjustly and arbitrarily so), of gender, race, marriage, femininity, and the nuclear family that she’s against. No “man” or “woman” or “Black” or “White”, just “people”. No unbreakable chains trapping people in unhappy relationships; no browbeaten-in standards of how you have to behave because of your genitalia; no condemnation of happy groups as “not families” or “inferior” because they don’t fit one very specific relationship structure. Like all PC thinking, it’s all about assuming that happiness comes from nonjudgementalism because you never got over being judged by someone else.

      How in the name of T. Boone Pickens’ basset hound she plans to sustain all of the above without reproduction, on the other hand, I confess to being utterly unable to fathom. Maybe she plans to invent immortality? (If so, good luck — entropy gets every physical creature eventually, no matter how long you live.)

  5. Comment by Foxfier:

    Mr Wong addresses his female audience thus:
    Go look at a city skyline. All those skyscrapers? We built those to impress you, too. All those sports you see on TV? All of those guys learned to play purely because in school, playing sports gets you laid. All the music you hear on the radio? All of those guys learned to sing and play guitar because as a teenager, they figured out that absolutely nothing gets women out of their pants faster. It’s the same reason all of the actors got into acting.

    Er… guy talks like that? Run.

    No, not run– RUN!!!

    He’s not telling you much about “men,” but he’s telling you lots about himself. Get Thee Fleeing Out.

    • Comment by CPE Gaebler:

      It IS a comedy website. Comic exaggeration is kinda the point. Heck, in his list of movie examples where the guy gets the girl, he put Frodo and Sam. Pretty sure he’s, in that case at least, telling a whopper for what I believe is officially called Huge Laffs.

      That, and if there is a nugget of truth to it, I can’t hold it too far against the guy. I have literally asked myself questions like “What if I acquire virtue and get a good job near a certain gal I am unreciprocatedly fond of, and she DOESN’T ever realize my qualities and suitability as a mate (which I am assuming I can obtain at SOME point) and come around to reciprocating?” and had a devil of a time convincing myself that, no, my life WOULDN’T be totally worthless no matter what else I accomplished with it.

      • Comment by Foxfier:

        Even allowing for humor, what he said and what you said isn’t even vaguely alike. (Most especially because you’re focused on a specific person.)

        Biggest difference? Focus on just getting laid. Oh, great, sure, guys did it all because of women…but only because women are required for the act? Big, BIG difference.

        • Comment by CPE Gaebler:

          Pretty sure that’s also for humorous effect. “Guy who cares about getting laid” is a classic comic stereotype and all. From what I know of the guy, Mr. Wong is quite dedicated to his wife.

          • Comment by Foxfier:

            As our host keeps pointing out, this isn’t about Mr. Wong’s personal life. It’s about what he wrote.

            For that matter, you seem to have missed the point that I was making about avoiding a guy who pontificates in that style….

            • Comment by CPE Gaebler:

              Perhaps I did miss the point. However, I note that claiming you are talking merely about what he wrote does not convince me when you appear to be attempting to deduce his personal life. I cannot work out what else “he’s telling you lots about himself, run away” could mean.

              • Comment by Foxfier:

                However, I note that claiming you are talking merely about what he wrote does not convince me when you appear to be attempting to deduce his personal life.

                *reads back over*

                No, as a matter of fact, I said jack about his personal life. A big hint to that fact is that I didn’t say anything about him at all.

                I stated that if a man spoke like that to a woman, he wasn’t telling her a lot about “men,” but he was telling her a LOT about himself, and that was not good. Given the leap you made thus far, I’ll spell it out: he did not say this to a woman, he wrote this.

                You want to say it’s humor, fine– frankly, that excuse is holding a lot less water since you decided to accuse me of things that I not only didn’t do, but that I didn’t even get close to.

                • Comment by CPE Gaebler:

                  Oh. OHHHHH. So, when you said “Guy talks like this? Run” you did not mean “This person talks like this; thus, run” but, instead, “If a guy talks to you like this, the run?”
                  Have I finally understood you correctly?
                  If so, I thoroughly retract what I said, and ask your forgiveness for my mistake.

                  • Comment by Foxfier:

                    Close enough.

                    What people use to integrate themselves with others tells you a lot– it seems you took that to mean I was saying that they actually believe what they joke about and live it out. Not at all, although it sometimes does turn out that way. (Usually, their “everyone does X” or “no-one actually does Y” is more directly informative, but I do go on….)

                    It’s more along the lines that someone who is going to say (writing is different, I’d argue– no facial interaction, so the words have to be stronger to convey more) something like the quote is highly probable to be unsuitable for one or more of a range of reasons, including being willing to act with contempt for a group that doesn’t deserve it, projecting their own challenges on to others, saying something they know isn’t so for advantage and not valuing the opposite number in sex so much as “getting laid.” Humor is often a good sign, but vicious humor is a rather bad one. There’s also a larger-than-average chance of him being seriously dangerous. (Usually with a “bad boy” rep– heaven help me, I do NOT know why so many women think that’s a good thing.)

  6. Comment by Joseph M (was Ishmael Alighieri):

    Thought experiment – 2 groups:

    Group 1 consists of people who are a) largely happy, and b) would like you to be happy, too.

    Group 2 consists of people who are a) largely if not completely unhappy, and b) would like you to be unhappy just like them.

    Question: which group are you more willing to take advise on how to live your life from?

    In group 1, I’d put (your lists may vary – my personal experiences only here) most devote Catholics, happily married couples, the children of happy marriages, heck, many of my Mormon neighbors, most religious sisters and nuns (but this is a subset of devote Catholics), babies, and, I dunno, dogs? The point being – happy people aren’t that hard to find, if you look. Note that many happy people are outraged and saddened by the deceit and violence and hatred and injustice they see around them – but that doesn’t stop them from being happy.

    (Aside on dogs: they seem pretty happy. my takeaway from dogs: always be enthusiastic about seeing the ones you love; always be up for a game; seek comforting physical contact. hardly profound, but not a bad start. And, yes, I know they’re not people.)

    In Group 2, I’d have to put Marxists – they just can’t let it go, those guys. They need a dog. Feminists – same as above. And so on, you get the point.

    The real telling thing is not happiness and unhappiness, exactly. We all suffer sadness and loss and pain, even the most innocent (or maybe especially the most innocent). Do we wish it on anyone else? Group 1 say no: we should comfort and support one another, go heavy on the words and deeds that help others to be happy, and never spread unhappiness as if it’s some kind of goal to be unhappy.

    Group 2 is outraged that Group 1 isn’t as unhappy as they are. Sexism! Racism! Exploitation of the masses! They even strive to create divisive, unhappy issues where none exist – that cross, there, out in public – I’m outraged! You are holding the door for me? You sexist patriarchal pig!

    And so on. Of course, *philosophically*, we should not care about whether or not a particular idea makes one happy or not, only if it is true or not. But it is curious that the very things common to many happy people – marriage, children, a belief in God, simple comforts, humility – are the very things unhappy people seem to direct their energy at putting an end to.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Not to play the Devil’s advocate, but more than one person advised me worriedly before I became a Catholic that Catholics were a miserable, guilt-ridden group. I joined because I thought I needed more guilt. Unfortunately, I found GK Chesterton and Thomas Aquinas and Mike Flynn and Mark Shea, who are their modern reincarnations, creatures of hot joy and cool logic, so what I am to do?

      Nonetheless, my point remains is that the main argument of the hedonists and suicide cultists is that Christians in general and Catholics in particular increase the misery of mankind by making natural and normal things, such as drug abuse, harlotry, sodomy, cannibalism and infanticide unlawful, the endless joy that comes from a life of pleasure is needlessly impaired.

      And then they usually mention the Crusade, which for some reason they seem to think is a drawback. I like knighthood, myself, and I sort of thought all boys do. Apparently it is warlike to resist the Paynim taking over North Africa, Asia Minor, Spain, the Holy Land, and destroy the Eastern Roman Empire.

      But the argument is that Hugh Hefner is a happier man than, for example, Mother Theresa of Calcutta. I believe all the lepers and beggars that Christopher Hitchens saved from starvation and damnation, who thank him with praise and gratitude — oh, wait, ‘scuze me. He never helped anyone.

      Myself, I saw Hefner on a show recently, and I have never seen such misery and emptiness in a human face. What a looser.

      But the slaves of the Dark Lord pretend they are happier than us.

      • Comment by Ed Pie:

        What are you to do? Exactly what you’ve done, and what you continue to do. A well-formed Catholic will feel guilty about the right things, hopefully in the right proportions, and can find a tonic for his guilt and guilty feelings in a small room at the back of the church any Saturday afternoon he chooses.

        Joseph M., you made a point I had not considered before: “They even strive to create divisive, unhappy issues where none exist.” I mean, I was aware they tended to be killjoys, but it struck me as ironic considering their desire to erase boundaries, or at least distinctiveness. I tend to think folks who recognize differences and divisions as more or less natural have a higher tolerance for those differences, even if they’re not happy about it, than folks who struggle to make us think about ways we need to stop thinking. No wonder they’re miserable. Maybe they think it’s a sign of progress in an anteutopian society.

        Oh posh, now I see Alan made a similar point farther down. Well, glad I’m not alone.

    • Comment by Stephen J.:

      “Group 1 consists of people who are a) largely happy, and b) would like you to be happy, too. Group 2 consists of people who are a) largely if not completely unhappy, and b) would like you to be unhappy just like them. Question: which group are you more willing to take advice on how to live your life from?”

      Depends on the groups’ varying definition of happiness, I’d have to say (with apologetic admission that this is rather a curmudgeonly missing of your point, which I do see). I’ve always thought there was much truth in the old saying: “Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.”

      Though it may be better still, to riff on Lazarus Long, to be Socrates satisfied.

      • Comment by John C Wright:

        The problem is that there is no such thing as a pig satisfied, except in the short term.

        The reason why prudence declares some pleasures to be off limits is that those pleasures are false: they make a promise they cannot keep. There are no cheerful alcoholics, no happy Casanovas. Only those folks who deliberately blind themselves to the lessons of history and experience think that maybe, this time around, the false pleasures will pay off.

        In this generation, the blindness springs from the belief that since, for example, Einstein revolutionized physics, or Copernicus revolutionized astronomy, no traditional learning can be trusted and must be tested again by experiment. The ancient men of Rome and Babylon and Alexandria (so runs the argument) did not live in cities, whereas we do; nor did they practice abortion and contraception, whereas we do; nor did they have sex out of wedlock, whereas we do; nor were they aware that the sex act was pleasurable. In the light of these new discoveries, such as that sex is pleasurable, and in light of our new circumstances, such as that we live in cities, therefore we are free to experiment with various immoral practices, and to hope that, this time, for no reason, the same conduct will lead to a different result. And it is incumbent on each person to conduct this experiment himself, without looking at the results of similar experiments in immortality and their results throughout all history and prehistory. Scientific skepticism demands it! No cost is too high!

        On the other hand, if the curmudgeonly argument is that it is better to know the truth, even if truth is unpleasant, rather than live a lie, even if a lie is pleasant, this is a manly and noble sentiment which can only be uttered by a man who believe in the truth and its objectivity. No modern when-in-Rome-do-as-the-Romans style cultural and moral relativist (which Lazarus Long was IN SPADES) believes in the truth or its objectivity. From a mouth like his, the words are contemptible hypocrisy.

        • Comment by Mary:

          I still remember a history of the Sixties that admitted that the Sexual Revolution was dumb and caused a lot of misery but still, it was a good thing because, like the Russian Revolution, something like it was bound to happen, and now all future generations will know it’s a dumb thing to do.

          Yes, all past generations’ wisdom was insufficient for them, but they will suffice for all the future generations.

      • Comment by Joseph M (was Ishmael Alighieri):

        In Peralandra, the Venusian Eve is tempted to see the sin as tragically heroic, so that, by sinning, she would achieve a sort of monumental grandeur in her defiance. She was tempted not by greater happiness, but by possibility of transcendent glory.

        Speaking as an older guy surprised to have been blessed with all the mundane ingredients of a happy life, it seems to me that, in the same way, many people who are merely miserable because of their own miserable behavior seek to strike an heroic pose, gazing off at a better future that only ones as enlightened as they can see, in which all the opprobrium and constraints on their behavior have been discarded, which, as a matter of course, leads to not only their own personal happiness, but to general happiness as well. They deal with the reality of their misery – misery which results from their theories about happiness not matching reality – by directing their rage at anyone so foolish as to suggest that, ya know, maybe it the life of constant indulgence and the using of others for gratification, and all the deceit and violence that entails, that’s making you so unhappy.

        Mr. Wright is manfully covering the philosophical and logical side of this issue. I was trying to introduce a little mundane procedural thought: that if what you’re after is happiness, would it not be best to look for it among happy people? The reality check comes when you notice that a monastery is generally happier than Hollywood, and that a married man with a few kids is generally happier than Don Juan. But that’s a data collection issue. One who will not look, cannot see.

        Instead, like Jadis and Uncle Andrew, and like the temptation in Peralandra, we believe we are special, that the reality of little people (or the patriarchy, or the marketplace, or the hearth) does not apply to us, and any insistence that it should is an act of violence against us. The happiness of a mother, or a nun, or a poor but honorable man is but the happiness of a pig in his slop, on his way to becoming bacon.

  7. Comment by Zagato:

    No “man” or “woman” or “Black” or “White”, just “people”.

    Oddly enough, that’s a crude sort of imperialism; you impose one cultural standard on diverse peoples.

    No unbreakable chains trapping people in unhappy relationships;

    Completely unsustainable if you want to have any sort of coherent society.

    no browbeaten-in standards of how you have to behave because of your genitalia;

    They’ll happen anyway, thanks to biology, female hypergamy, and the male sex drive. Once again, to have a coherent society, you have to harness these in some way.

    no condemnation of happy groups as “not families” or “inferior” because they don’t fit one very specific relationship structure.

    But when one type of group succeeds over another type of group, she will cry foul.

    Feminism as a whole just displeases me. It is all about women having zero responsibility to men while men have much responsibility toward women. It is the denigration of male sexuality as akin to rape — indeed, they imply that any time the male convinces the female (convinces, mind you, not coerces) to have sex with her, it is rape. It is the denial of biological truths about women merely to preserve the delicate feelings of these so-called Strong Women™.

    Smashing families apart, brushing aside the concerns of ordinary men, casting men as evil merely for wanting sex with women — the sooner we get rid of this odious ideology, the better.

    • Comment by Mary:

      Besides, for unbreakable chains nothing really beats physical violence, which is rather hard to abolish.

    • Comment by Mary:

      Speaking of crying “foul” — many feminists (I have heard them) complain about cut backs in welfare on the grounds that the women are being “punished” for “lacking access” to a male income.

      As if women who had such access were not being punished more severely, with no checks at all!

  8. Comment by Alan Silverman:

    I am curious if this woman would support the idea of colleges having Women’s Studies departments. After all, if you want to tear down the differences, then why do you need a special department calling attention to the differences?

    Also, I am curious if this woman has ever looked at the statistics of children raised in nuclear families (vs. those that weren’t) and of adults in nuclear families (vs. those that aren’t). Especially in regards to happiness, depression rates, rates of incarceration, average income, and so on.

    I may not be particularly a Christian, but even a pagan can see the plain, simple facts.

  9. Comment by Gian:

    “All those sports you see on TV? All of those guys learned to play purely because in school, playing sports gets you laid. All the music you hear on the radio? All of those guys learned to sing and play guitar because as a teenager, they figured out that absolutely nothing gets women out of their pants faster. It’s the same reason all of the actors got into acting.”

    Isn’t this PC of the Secular Right? the dogma of Darwinians?
    And practically a truism in 21C West? That men always seek to impregnate as many women as possible?

    “It’s not the patriarchy you fight, but biology.”
    Patriarchy, while rooted in biology, is not reducible to it. It is commonly erroneously defined as the Rule of Men though it is actually Rule of Fathers.

    • Comment by Mary:

      Patriarchy is the bogeyman. It is a mysterious, invisible, odorless, tasteless cloud permeating human existence, responsible for everything a feminists dislikes.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      “Isn’t this PC of the Secular Right? the dogma of Darwinians?”

      Is that a misprint? PC of the Secular Right? I suppose if you define Robert Heinlein as “secular Right”, the answer would be yes. One of his favorite themes was that sex drive drove everything.

      Otherwise, pseudo-Darwinism that looks for evolution reasons for everything from altruism to marriage customs is pretty exclusive to the secular Left. Freudianism also sees a sexual motive for all behavior, and Freud is pretty much a saint of the Left, although you can find some on the Right who believe that tripe, albeit they are few.

      • Comment by Gian:

        There are libertarians as well. Not all Right is Catholic. And plenty of Catholics have bought into popular sociobiology.

        • Comment by Gian:

          See discussion of ‘hypergamy’. Now economists are writing papers on this.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          I did not say all Right is Catholic. I was wondering to whom you were referring as ‘Secular Right’? My guess was Robert Heinlein.

          I have not heard anyone else on the Right, Catholic or otherwise, who buys into that Freudian everything-is-subliminal-sex-drive crap. I am not saying they aren’t out there, I just haven’t heard of them.

          Libertarians do not usually consider themselves ‘on the Right’ (or on the Left).

          • Comment by Nate Winchester:

            For what it’s worth, the secular right have their own blog now.
            http://secularright.org/

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              Well, now Gian can go through the site and find for me where they echo Mr Wong’s sentiment that all human activity is motivated by a desire to ‘get laid’ (what a charmingly unromantic expression!) and back up what otherwise sounds like a lazy ad hominem tu quoque.

              Meanwhile, I have already said Bob Heinlein talks this way in his books, and he is not leftwing in anything save his below-the-belt issues. I just don’t see the relevance to Mr Wong’s humor piece, which I did not criticize on the grounds that he and he alone believes this foolishness. My criticism was that it was foolishness.

          • Comment by Gian:

            It is not Freud but Darwinian reduction to selfish genes. I would bet that 50 out of 100 conservatives would agree that man are driven to bed as many women as they can. And I don’t mean libertarians.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              Where did your fifty out of a hundred number come from? I have yet to meet a single conservative, excepting only John Derbyshire, who believes the Selfish Gene theory is the sole and only explanation of human behavior.

              Is the number of conservatives who approve of marriage and disapprove of adultery and fornication fifty out of a hundred? D Do they perhaps see marriage as a social force necessary to thwart this drive? Or do you perhaps mean fifty out of a hundred think the drive cannot be thwarted?

              If half the conservatives on Earth believe that men are driven to bed as many women as possible, is the number of progressives, who seem by and large to approve of this behavior rather than disapprove, higher or lower?

  10. Comment by CPE Gaebler:

    I found myself a bit taken aback Mr Wright’s dissection of Mr. Wong’s article, for a few reasons. One, it seemed to me that the author was not espousing a view wherein the genders are involved in a class war power struggle, but noticing people acting that way and pointing out how stupid it is.
    Second, when I read Wong’s article, I found myself nodding along because I have noticed a temptation towards such things in myself. Every last one of those five, to a greater or lesser degree; some I know to be stupid ideas but I wrestle nonetheless.
    But most importantly, I’ve read his novel (which I love so very much) and simply cannot peg him as a feminist. The protagonist does not treat the female lead like a man with boobs, but like someone to be cherished and protected. I cannot, while maintaining my sanity, understand as a Leftist propagandist anyone who pens the words: “I realized about halfway down the creaky stairs that we were letting the girl take point on our adventure into the dark basement and how utterly unheroic this was. I reached out and, with a small move of my body, did something that would change my life forever. I gently moved Amy aside and stepped down ahead of her, putting myself between her and the shadows.” When he sees a monster in said basement, he does not act like the scum of the Costa Concordia, but screams for her to get back before charging headlong at the creature in a savage, terrified frenzy. And she does not act like Dejah Thoris in “John Carter,” offended at the presumption of a MAN trying to defend a WOMAN, but she appreciates the gesture.

    Also, Mr Wright, I baffled at your apparent false dichotomy between being malleable and rational – surely we’re endowed with rationality but of a damaged sort, which if we do not guard and train ourselves – and who is taught to these days? – we will contort to self-serving ends? Somewhere in this comments section, a reader noted that Leftist thought seems to spur from a hated experience of suffering (which seemed like truism to me); when reading the article my agreement was generally along the lines of “Yep, that’s the sort of thing that a guy who’s been unlucky in love might think!” Romantic rejection is harrowing, after all – and it is easier, and more self-serving, to assume that it’s someone else’s fault, or to believe the comforting lie that things will not only work out to your benefit, but to your benefit in the way you want them to. As I noted, I have noticed these temptations in myself as well. And they have always whispered louder whenever I have contemplated my perennial singleness.
    Of course we are not clay inexorably molded by titanic forces outside our ability to interfere. But neither are we perfectly rational agents whose will is free and unswayed by anything external. Our decisions are affected by external forces. I mean, it seems truism to me that people will make excuses for their behavior if they believe a stupid idea that allows for it. Islam teaches that women should cover themselves because men are so thoroughly incapable of controlling themselves at the merest sight of female flesh. To a Christian friend of mine who grew up in a 95%+ Muslim country which observes Sharia Law, this translated to “If you don’t wear a veil, everyone from fellow students to professors will assume you are willing to have sex with them, and will totally try to seduce you.” Because hey, they have an out! Can’t help your programming! Not to mention the incidents where Muslim immigrants have justified rape of non-Muslim women, with imams giving the thumbs-up, because if she’s not wearing a veil she’s TOTALLY asking for it. And every single page of “Life at the Bottom” seemed to confirm this for me: Yes, people make their own choices, but if you blast their heads full of stupid, stupid ideas, many people will make many stupid, stupid choices.
    Is my head on straight here?

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      First, if what he is describing is not a power struggle, why is his number one reason given for misogyny (pardon me, for how society TRAINS men to misogyny) given as a feeling of powerlessness? Why does he describe Richard Gere fer chrissake as treating the woman “like laundry” when the gesture is so obviously a romantic one? Is the reader expected to interpret calling a man treating a woman like laundry as anything but a gesture of contempt?

      Second, I have not read his novel, but, as a novelist, I know darned well that a man’s muse leads him in a different direction than his philosophy, particularly when, as here, the philosophy is deliberately disconnected from real life. Also, this is a humor piece. He can portray one thing in a novel and another thing in the article. I am criticizing the article, not the man himself, of whom I know nothing.

      Third, I am not sure what is puzzling about the dichotomy between the Christian view of men with free will and the Antichristian view of men as mindless meat-puppets controlled by astrological influences or genetic influences or false consciousness of ideological superstructures or neuro-molecular influences, or whatever the flavor of the week is this week. You don’t actually say what you objection is, or why the dichotomy looks false to you.

      Fourth, I don’t disagree with the observation that the article sounds like it was written by a soul unlucky in love. It may be true or it may not. Again, I don’t know anything about Mr Wong and I am not a mindreader. I am only criticizing the article.

      I did not say that you yahoos were “perfectly rational agents whose will is free and unswayed by anything external.” That privilege is reserved to we Houyhnhnms. So in arguing against a false dichotomy, you propose a false dichotomy. My argument is that, instead of assuming that the audience likes shows where the hero wins the girl, be he a Karate Kid or a an Officer and a Gentleman, Mr Wong assumes that the audience is “trained” by those shows to have a false expectation in real life: and that this assumption is unsound.

      Finally, you conclude with the argument that filling the heads of men with stupid ideas will make them act stupidly. But in the case under consideration, the allegedly stupid ideas that allegedly fill the heads of men are ideas of love and romance, which Mr Wong, perhaps in jest, describes as ideas of lust and possession and concubinage.

      In general, yes of course, men do stupid things because of the spread of stupid, or, rather, wicked, ideas. It is the duty of every man of good will to denounce and resist those ideas when he sees them: which is precisely my effort here. The foremost wicked idea of our age, the prime Marxist and materialist and humanist flattery, is that men are the products of social conditioning or “training,” not morally responsible individuals in their own right.

      Clearly society influences us a very great deal. Society also feeds us. What we put in our mouths or in our brains is our decision.

      • Comment by Patrick:

        “Mr Wong assumes that the audience is “trained” by those shows to have a false expectation in real life: and that this assumption is unsound.”

        The moral of the hero story is that to get the girl, you have to be a hero.

        Now, every guy in our promiscuous society knows you don’t need to be a hero to get a girl.

        However, I think Wong, like most of us, despite our “success” at getting a ‘free lunch’, is uncomfortable with the realization that the thing we’re (still!) taught is the summit of existence – love – might possibly be achieved at no expense to ourselves. After all, we do know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you didn’t do anything for it, does it still count? Does it matter?

        The refusal to distinguish heroic virtue from power – intrepid voyagers from evil wizards – is what makes this kind of nonsense possible.

  11. Comment by Subcreator:

    “Answer me truthfully, ladies: if a beau as handsome as Richard Gere came to your boring workplace and swept you off your feet to carry you away to a quick wedding and a lingering honeymoon, would you regard that as an insult, that he was treating you like laundry? Or would you think he cherished you?”

    As a lady, and one who is by no means even slightly feminist, I have to lean toward Mr. Wong’s side on this issue. I wouldn’t think that the man was treating me like laundry, but I wouldn’t think he cherished me either. I would not find it sexy or romantic. I would find it hateful and embarrassing. I would certainly not marry him after such an incident.

    I think you are being unfair to David Wong. I must ask you, do you know anything about the man? Have you been reading his material for years, as I have? If you have and you know something about him, then you should pity him. For this article seems to me to mark a distinct regression in a career of otherwise very clear, balanced and logical writing. If you know nothing about him, then you are making assumptions about his thinking and his motivations with no basis at all. Either way, while pointing out errors and “instructing the ignorant” is a good thing, you seem to me to go much too far in that you often make assumptions about your targets’ motivations and inward processes. And this is precisely what a Christian should never do. A person may be wrong and it may be good to point out their wrongness, but to then judge how and why they reached their wrong conclusions is not the realm of we humans, but only the realm of God.

    You insinuate that David Wong wrote what he did because he needed a quick answer without having to think about it much. That isn’t the impression I got from his article at all. The impression I got was that David Wong looked at the world around him and saw a legitimate problem. (Rush Limbaugh publicly calling a woman a “slut” and a “prostitute” is wrong, no matter what sort of person she is. And his wrongness is not negated by the fact that Cracked does not write articles skewering the left.) It seemed to him that this example of wrong behavior was echoed in Wong’s experience by men in general. He sought to find a reason why. His article strikes me as the kind of article written by someone who is honestly seeking for the answer to a problem, but does not have the tools for the job and so ends up with the wrong conclusions. But still, he is a seeker.

    As someone said above, David Wong seems to be motivated by the experience of suffering. If you know anything about him, then you know that at the very least he has seen much suffering first hand through his best friend, John Cheese. (John Cheese is very vocal on Cracked about everything he’s gone through and what it has taken to try to set his life straight.) These two men almost certainly don’t have the advantages of education that you had, Mr. Wright. Most people don’t anymore. Most people go through life knowing nothing about philosophy and theology and logical thinking. Your education, it seems to me, helped you to be able to think for yourself more freely and more rationally than most people can.

    It seems to me, Mr. Wright, that part of the problem may be that you do not suffer from the same kinds of temptation that many other men do. Everyone is prone to different types of besetting sins. Many, many men in our society visibly struggle the most with lust. However, it seems to me that you may be more like my husband, who does not struggle with unnatural lust. He does not struggle much with sins of the flesh in general. His biggest struggle is against pride. His struggles are more mental than physical. When you don’t personally struggle to overcome a certain thing, if you find it easy to appreciate a beautiful woman without wanting to bed her immediately, it can be hard to understand people who do.

    All in all, I know that David Wong has reached the wrong conclusions. But I think he did so honestly and with great effort. I think he’s just a guy who lives in a world that hasn’t armed him for struggles like this, but tries and seeks anyway. More than anything else, I pity him. And I will pray for him.

    • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

      How can Mr. Limbaugh be wrong? If you are allowed to judge him on what he said in public, then he is allowed to judge Ms. Fluke on what she said in public, and he did nothing wrong, for she is certainly a slut (having regular sex out of wedlock) and certainly a prostitute (trying to force the Catholic school she attends to pay for her “birth control, to advance her political career”).

      “No matter what sort of person she is”? What a cruel thing to say. Because of that sort of thinking, she will be known till the end of her days as “that slut”. I do not think she will have a happy life, and we have many examples of the unhappy lives left behind by the politically powerful Left. The many women despoiled by John Kennedy (there’s another book out!), Ted Kennedy (How long can you tread water?) And, of course, the sad, broken girl used up and thrown out by Pornstar. It is public record she waits for his call. Perhaps if we had been honest about what a mess these sluts had made of their life, Ms. Fluke would not have followed suit.

      • Comment by Subcreator:

        It is wrong to publicly degrade someone’s character. It is the opposite of Christian charity to insult her so. “Slut” is a word that carries connotations besides that of “having regular sex outside of wedlock”. It is a word that is also meant to describe certain aspects of a person’s inner life. It is also a word that I think we can agree is not a technical term, but is universally meant as an insult. One can assess and make judgements about someone’s actions or words without making judgements about their character and motivations. Man can only see what is on the outside, after all, and has no right to judge what is on the inside.

        From a Christian standpoint, Limbaugh was in the wrong. One should never begin to excuse certain wrongs simply because they were enacted in a fight against a greater wrong.

        • Comment by Patrick:

          “It is wrong to publicly degrade someone’s character. It is the opposite of Christian charity to insult her so.”

          It’s always annoyed me that many people get tattoos with embellishments on the words “Peace” or “Love”, but nobody gets tattoos that say things like “It is wrong to publicly degrade someone’s character”.

        • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

          My point is, if it is “Wrong to publicly degrade someone’s character”, then don’t do it. “Judge not lest you be judged”. Got it. So you don’t get to judge Mr. Limbaugh. That’s how that works.

          Please. If you don’t want to be “Judged on the inside”, then don’t testify in front of Congress. The Democrats are the one’s who proclaimed “The Personal is Political”, the one’s who have destroyed men for what they imagined was “on the inside”, such as Robert Bork. For you as a Christian to hold a completely secular Mr. Limbaugh to a very high standard (Whoa, Sluts have feelings too! She might be a nice woman begging for “birth control” in the gutter because she has to have sex three times a day for medical reasons!) while skipping over Ms. Fluke’s agenda, to maintain the two million babies murdered by their mothers each year, and if possible increase the number, while getting the Catholic church to pay for it? Perhaps before dealing with the splinter in Mr. Limbaugh’s eye, you deal with the log in yours……

          • Comment by Patrick:

            “So you don’t get to judge Mr. Limbaugh. That’s how that works.”

            That’s not how it works.

            • Comment by Nate Winchester:

              Since Rob was calling out her double standard, that is how it works.

              It is ironic how well this has proved the point about keeping medical ordeals private and not public. Maybe Fluke isn’t a slut, but she’s an idiot for not realizing that putting your life on public display is not a way to keep people from talking about it.

              • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                This is a transcript of Ms. Fluke’s testimony. It appears to me that she is putting more of the lives of people she knows in public display, rather than her own, aside from her organizational memberships.

                • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

                  Yes, the old democrat bait and switch. The reason she was testifying in front of “Mock Congress” was because of her standing as a Georgetown Coed. “Behold what a hard life these poor women have! We have put a face to the suffering, you can’t ignore it now!”. It’s a useful narrative when begging for special privileges to “show the suffering”, as the degrading TV show “Queen for a day” used to do. The failure here is that the Democrats are in such a bubble, they didn’t realize that all they did here was personify Sluts and Prostitutes. It’s why they were so upset when Rush “Spoke Truth to Power”.

                • Comment by Nate Winchester:

                  That’s even worse! Heck, I wouldn’t blame any classmate from avoiding Fluke in the future just from fear that she’s going to blab some fact about your medical history to the world.

                  Though I note she uses a lot of the “friend of mine” phrasing which… well there’s a whole trope on that.

                  • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                    Yes, she uses it a lot, but I see no reason to doubt her stories, especially being the position she is in the organization she is. I imagine that she has been exposed to a great number of stories that she would consider to illustrate her point. Though she probably also picked the ones she thought would have the most impact (as opposed to the ones most representative).

                    • Comment by Nate Winchester:

                      uh… and? You have nothing better to do with your evening except to argue over technical minutia that doesn’t have an impact on the larger point made?

                      If so, why not something more important, like how does the Enterprise keep beaming through shields?

                    • Comment by Mary:

                      Here’s a reason to doubt that she knows what she’s talking about: someone else asked her if she was aware that the Pill was $9 a month at Target within a few miles of her university and she admited that no, she didn’t know that.

                      Why therefore should we take her claims about the immense expense of contraception at face value?

              • Comment by Patrick:

                “Since Rob was calling out her double standard”

                Calling someone a slut is not calling out a “double standard”. If you don’t see the difference, talk to your 3rd grade teacher and have her explain it to you.

                A good rule of thumb is – would I call my wife that name?

                A bad rule of thumb is – did Rush Limbaugh do it first?

                (Though if your reply to the good rule is, “well, I would if she were being a slut”, you probably can’t be helped.)

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Like I said, I am a guy, and I would be willing to have Richard Gere carry me off, specially if he were wearing his dress whites. So your disdain for romantic gestures here is odd.

      Maybe you just don’t like Richard Gere. Put any manly man of your own preference into the same spot, Humphrey Bogart or Clark Gable or Rudolph Valentino — would that change your answer? You don’t think a man doing a daring thing to display his unambiguous and outrageous love is a sign of cherishing? You think it is HATEFUL and EMBARRASSING?

      To be sure, it is slightly embarrassing, but that is the point. Marriage is also slightly embarrassing, which is the point of tying shoes to the bumper of the honeymoon car.

      But on what grounds would you find it to be hateful?

      As for the rest of it, I don’t know anything about Mr Wong nor did I make any comments about Mr Wong. I am merely commenting on the article. I am not commenting on him nor on his general philosophy, which is a matter unknown to me. I made no assumptions about his thoughts or inward thought processes. All I talked about was the article.

      “It seems to me, Mr. Wright, that part of the problem may be that you do not suffer from the same kinds of temptation that many other men do”

      I have no polite way to respond to this. It would ill behoove me to burst in to brays of laughter when discussing delicate matters with a lady. I will say only that you opinion is very flattering, and I thank you for it.

      “Many, many men in our society visibly struggle the most with lust. However, it seems to me that you may be more like my husband, who does not struggle with unnatural lust.”

      I wish I had natural lusts. Why don’t you read one of my books and tell me if you have the same opinion about me afterward? Start with the one where the busty blond schoolgirl dressed as catwoman gets tied up and spanked.

      Lust is one of my besetting sins. So is wrath, and so is intellectual pride. The one thing I am never tempted by is envy. I don’t mean that as a boast, I merely note that different people sin in different ways.

      So, I would say I have been blessed with a happy marriage, and, being physically ugly and socially awkward and advanced in years, I am in no danger of temptation from adultery. If that is what you mean, I agree I am in less of a position to betray my marriage than, say, President Clinton or President Kennedy. But that has no bearing on the discussion. If what I say is true, it is true no matter whether I say it or someone else.

      I agree Rush Limbaugh calling a lady a slut and a prostitute was ungentlemanly behavior. I disagree that what Mr Wong wrote has anything to do with this, because Mr Limbaugh’s comment cannot, without giggling, be interpreted as misogyny. It was political. It was hatred of tyranny, not hatred of women. Mr Limbaugh objects to a law student in a Catholic university demanding Caesar force the university to defy Catholic teachings for the convenience of her unchaste lifestyle. Unless she was using the contraceptive for some other purpose aside from contraception? In which case Catholic teaching would not forbid it.

      And, yes, the lack of Cracked condemnation of, say, Mr Clinton’s fornication and adultery and (possibly) rape of women, or the Kennedys’ fornication and (possibly) murder in the third degree of women (Mary Jo Kopechne and Marilyn Monroe) as the lead in to a general discussion of misogyny betrays that the attempt is partisan. The lack of balance raises the suspicion that other judgments may likewise be unbalanced.

      However, even granting this argument, Mr Wong once he turns from Rush and addresses society in general, my comments still pertain. When you say he reaches his conclusions honestly and with great effort, that is interesting but not relevant. I am not making any comment about his state of mind aside from what is shown in the article under discussion. Not being a woman, and not being a man prone to empathy, I am not concerned with his state of mind. An honest falsehood is still false.

      But, again, let us keep in mind this is a humor piece, not a legal brief. He is trying to be funny. But he is trying to be funny by exaggerating a sober kernel, and it is that kernel I address.

      • Comment by Subcreator:

        First, the wording of this article of yours (and many others I have read here on your site) indicates to me that you are in fact making comments about his state of mind. Perhaps you disagree, but to me you come across as someone who is always making judgements about your targets’ motivations and inner state. Perhaps you think you are showing restraint. I cannot say. But as a humble reader, to me you too often stray away from objective analysis and too close to condemnation of people rather than actions. You all too often fail to display Christian charity in your articles.

        This is something that I have struggled to overcome myself very often in the past, so perhaps it stands out to me more than to others. It is a very hard thing to give people the benefit of the doubt and not make assumptions about what is going on in their heads and hearts. And you seem to think you are not making such assumptions, but your words tell me a different story. Perhaps you are simply not expressing yourself as well as you might. But then I expect a professional writer to say what they mean and mean what they say.

        But let that subject rest. It is not for me to call your behavior to task.

        As far as the “Richard Gere carrying off his lady love” example and how I react to it…

        First let me say that there is no such thing as an objectively romantic gesture. You can say “a man carrying a woman out of her workplace is romantic”, but that is your opinion and not a fact. To you it is romantic. To me it is not. For the record I don’t like Richard Gere, which is why I chose to imagine my husband performing the action to me before we were married for the sake of answering your question. Same result, I’m afraid.

        The main thing here is that there is no reason for Richard Gere’s character to physically carry her out. She is not in trouble or in danger. She does not need rescuing. He is not carrying her over the threshold of their new home. He simply walks into her workplace and carries her out. This is, admittedly, supposed to be romantic. But I think you will find that there are women out there who are not feminists but still don’t want men to treat us as if we always need to be rescued when we do not.

        If I was in actual danger and in actual need of being rescued, then please! Carry me! Carry me over the threshold as well. For at least that is a traditional gesture with a meaning. But don’t treat me like a helpless female in need of a savior when there is nothing wrong with me and nothing endangering me.

        I think that was David Wong’s point. Not that a man carrying a woman is objectively misogynistic, but that this specific example in An Officer and a Gentleman showcases a man treating a woman like she is helpless when she is actually not. If you call that romantic then fine. Perhaps someday Richard Gere will come and sweep you off your feet.

        But don’t act like it should be universally romantic to all women. Romance isn’t universal and neither is what woman want.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          “First, the wording of this article of yours (and many others I have read here on your site) indicates to me that you are in fact making comments about his state of mind”

          Since you are a lady, I will not answer you as I would answer a man, and tell you to put up or shut up, and quote back to me word for word where I said what you are ascribing to me, or apologize to me for putting words in my mouth.

          But you are not a man, and so I will not be so confrontational. Instead I will ask you nicely to reread what I wrote and attempt to understand what I am really saying.

          But, even for ladies, it is not nice to put words in other people’s mouth, and pretend he is saying something he is not.

          “Perhaps you disagree, but to me you come across as someone who is always making judgements about your targets’ motivations and inner state.”

          Please note the irony here. You are making a judgment about my motives, which you do not know for sure, by saying I should not make judgments about motives, which, in this case, I am not doing.

          “But I think you will find that there are women out there who are not feminists but still don’t want men to treat us as if we always need to be rescued when we do not.”

          Oddly enough, I think this might be the definition of being a feminist: someone who thinks chivalry is hateful.

          In any case, I am not saying all women should like Richard Gere. I have not even seen that movie. I know different women find different things romantic. And I also know some women, either from time to time, or all the time, don’t like romance. None of this has a bearing on my article, which was not arguing “all women are romantic” but was arguing “no feminists are romantic.”

          • Comment by Suburbanbanshee:

            In the movie, the whole point of the scene was not just that the man arrived to carry her off from the workplace. The point was that the woman wanted to have a home and husband and freedom from grinding work, and was afraid that she would never have any of these. (IIRC, the movie spent a great deal of time explaining this.) Initially, the man was not vaguely ready to provide such things. He allowed himself to be remade by the Navy and his relationship with the woman until he could. By arriving at the workplace and carrying her off, he was symbolically saying that he was now willing and able to provide all three of her dreams, and would do so from that very moment. She understood and hence consented; her workmates understood and cheered them on. It was an act of service to the domna who was his inspiration and partner in change, not of domination.

            If this gesture had happened five minutes after the movie started, or five minutes after they met, it would not have been domination.

            This is why a lot of research and inquiry often lies behind truly romantic gestures in real life, whereas a beau geste can fall flat if it is badly chosen.

    • Comment by Nate Winchester:

      For those interested in what David Wong is thinking, you can check out a lot of his followups on the comments board.
      http://www.cracked.com/forums/index.php?topic=21040.msg2233806

      With comments like:

      I think that could be its own article, by the way. I know Christina touched on it in her article about the friendly, funny kind of racism you get with people like Jeremy Lin, but in general it’s hard for us to recognize that we can be subconsciously prejudiced against someone.

      We keep thinking of prejudice as a bunch of guys burning a cross in somebody’s yard or spraypainting swastikas, but can’t wrap our minds around the fact that we were raised with a certain set of assumptions by which we judge our own actions, and that even if our actions pass that test (“Telling a woman she’s sexy is always an appropriate compliment!”) they can still be making the world worse (for instance, if that compliment implies that being sexy is a key element in being a good female doctor/comedian/lawyer/etc.)

      I actually think the vast majority of the prejudice that happens on earth, happens at the hands of people who are in no way acting maliciously. They just haven’t been pushed hard enough to think of things from the other end.

      And

      This is a subject that we as a society are very bad at talking about, because there are no disinterested parties. Everyone has a dog in the fight, and everyone jumps to their own defense. Any explanation for why terrible people do the things they do is seen as an excuse, any generalization is seen as an attack on the individual reading it (“If I admit to feeling these things, it’s the same as telling my wife I’m ogling her hot sister when she visits!”). And it doesn’t help that you have the circle of bloggers and activists who see it as a war, every word spoken being a bullet fired for their side, with lots of people on the fringes who simply like a good fight.

      I think John’s assumption about Wong’s marination in marxist thought is spot on.

      But then, it’s not an excuse or an attack on the individual reading it. ;)

  12. Comment by Patrick:

    Nowadays, I tend to agree on the ‘feminists seem to hate women’ thing, because the doctrine does nothing at all to explain the mundane, startling, wonderful fact of how amazing and different women are, as opposed to dudes – especially young women, especially in girlhood, which in a manner of speaking, is when women are wild. The liberated woman, the undomesticated woman, is about 6 years old, with two loving parents, a porchful of siblings and an active imagination. Children in happy homes can be wild, because domesticity is freedom with safety.

    Girl children are not equally beautiful, intelligent, charming, or pleasant. They know this themselves. But they are all women, and a society that loves women would teach it’s girls that they are worthy of respect, that virtue is the flower of womanhood. It’s only in the virtues that all women can be equals.

    ‘Feminism’ seems like so much stepsister-envy of prettier, luckier, smarter, more pleasant women – women who achieved happiness that they failed to.

    I think this is why its activists try so hard to corrode childhood, to turn free children into embittered, uncertain women yoked with absurd, self-loathing ideology. Every generation is full of young women who will exceed the hardened feminist in all ways – the only way to stop girls from being virtuous, smart, pleasant and beautiful is to undermine and ambivalate against these concepts as best you can and hope for the worst for them.

    The more you damage something, the more you influence its future. These modern ideologues seem to want to take the whole diversity of natural things with benign destinies and turn them into monotonous trash.

  13. Comment by lotdw:

    “…and government interference with: private uteruses, non-abusive domestic arrangements, drug habits, lives, and deaths.”

    The important question remains: can we interfere with public uteruses?

  14. Comment by Patrick:

    “That femininity is not a “choice” when the alternative is derision, ridicule, workplace sanctions, or ostracization.”

    It’s deeply encouraging that – even on a sci-fi blog!!! – this woman’s supercilious cry for mercy from “ridicule”, “derision” and “ostracization” gets no traction at all.

    Mark Shea’s bon mot about such “Professionally-aggrieved Grievance Professionals” rings loudly in my head when I read of things like this.

    • Comment by Stephen J.:

      Actually, that was the only part of her screed which *did* get much sympathy from me. I still remember what it was like to be constantly mocked and belittled, from pretty much kindergarten all the way through high school, for being a short, skinny bookworm and geek who’d rather read than play sports, couldn’t take being teased, and had no idea what bands or fashions were popular.

      Never underestimate the psychological damage that can be done even to adults by systematic rejection, humiliation, disenfranchisement and isolation, especially for (what can easily appear to be and often are) arbitrary and hypocritically unadmitted reasons. Part of the reason I have an instinctive sympathy for a lot of leftist reactions is that I understand the outrage that prompts them. “What happened to me/my friend shouldn’t happen to anyone,” it goes, “and we’ll change the rules, by force if we have to, to make sure it never does again!”

      It turns into a Profession when you have to find a way to make a living at it, of course, and into Totalitarianism when you want to make disagreement not just costly but criminal.

      • Comment by Mary:

        OTOH, the equal opportunity abuse they have no problem with — they are only after abuse that they can lump under an “ism”. This would, on the face of it, make it obvious that they don’t care about the abuse but about using it as a cudgel to enforce conformity to their views.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Is there something about Sci Fi that makes you think we fanboys like whining?

      If the lady acts like a lady, she gets to demand the gentleman acts like a gentleman. When she fornicates and demands I use my hard earned Catholic dollars to violate my conscience and disobey God’s Church, and steps onto the public stage in order to rile up a mob against the Holy Mother Church, I think a small degree of undiplomatic, and even brusque language, is allowed: however, calling someone a ‘slut’ is beyond the pale, and Mr Limbaugh should make a public apology.

      If the apology is not accepted — as apparently it has not been, since Mr Wong is still taking him to task — then we should hold an armed rebellion, storm the Bastille and start guillotining Liberals. VIVA LA REVOLUTION!

      I am not paying for your contraception, slatterns.

      • Comment by Alan Silverman:

        It seems to me problematic, logically, to leap from “women who use birth control for contraceptive reasons” to “women who are promiscuous”. I believe it is the fallacy known as the “hasty generalization”.

        • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

          Ah, no. An argument between postulates. Women who use birth control for contraceptive reasons are of course promiscuous. Even the people pushing the “Sexual Revolution” understood this, which is why they keep claiming that birth control is for “medical reasons”. But since you have given that up, what are you left with? What does promiscuous mean if it does not mean having unsafe sex (and any time you have sex without being in a position to raise a child is unsafe)? No, once again, the Holy Roman Catholic Church had it right, the only correct sex is within Marriage, with the expectation of a live birth.

          • Comment by Alan Silverman:

            What does promiscuous mean if it does not mean having unsafe sex (and any time you have sex without being in a position to raise a child is unsafe)?

            Four things, in fact. Your definition, however, is not on the list.

            Redefining words to mean what you want them to mean so your logical fallacy ends up not a fallacy because of your made-up semantics is still logically fallacious.

            • Comment by Foxfier:

              You might want to read that again. Having sex and counting on not getting pregnant would, indeed, be “casual” and “haphazard.”

              But by all means, go on pretending that you expected to look up promiscuous and find “having sex without being in a position to raise the resulting child” on the list.

              There’s a reason Fluke lied and claimed that non-birth-control uses weren’t covered.

            • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

              Or, you know, the first one, if you actually read the definition. “Indiscriminate mingling or association”. Like sex with a person you can’t trust to raise a child with. You can’t trust the person you are “mingling” with so you need “protection”, i.e., “birth control”. And you are so “Indiscriminate” that you need the Government to force other people to pay for your “protection”. But don’t call them sluts! (And pay no attention to the first synonym either! So, so unhelpful….)

              • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                …what?

                No, seriously, what?

                having unsafe sex

                Indiscriminate mingling or association

                Please explain to me how these are semantically equivalent. Much less the statement, further in the definition, where it uses the words “multiple partners”.

                • Comment by Nate Winchester:

                  Alan, are you that unfamiliar with English you can’t follow Robert’s thought train?

                  Oh wait, it would probably help if you wouldn’t edit out his explanatory note:

                  (and any time you have sex without being in a position to raise a child is unsafe)

                  • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                    I left out the note because it is irrelevant (and a separate attempt to re-define a term). Even keeping it in, my point still stands that the two are not semantically equivalent, and to use them as such is committing the logical fallacy I believe is known as “equivocation”.

                    Example: a married couple (which, according to my dictionary means they are not indiscriminate) very well can have sex without being in a position to raise a child. This means that the couple meets one “definition” (unsafe sex–which again, is re-defining a term), but not the other (promiscuous).

                    • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

                      Ah, no. No married couple is in a position were they can have sex but not a child. The current system is far too kind to push that fable. Food Stamps, Aid to Dependent Children, the list goes on. That’s just the government, not their church, or the grandparents. It is the lie that got the Courts to force “Birth Control” on the Nation, so points for memory, but the explosion of Abortions, Bastards, and Social Diseases was not caused by married couples having a little fun on Saturday night. To return to the start of the thread, all of which we have witnessed before making a generalization. So, generalization, yes, hasty, no.

                    • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                      No married couple is in a position were they can have sex but not a child.

                      Couples where the wife has undergone menopause, along with couples whether either the man or woman are infertile for biological reasons stand in contradiction of this statement.

                      Furthermore, a married couple that uses intentional birth control is most certainly in a position where they can have sex and (presuming the contraceptive to work) not a child. Or are you trying to say that married couples that have sex with a condom are not, ipso facto, married?

                      Also, that statement is not semantically equivalent to “without being in a position to raise a child”. One can be in a position where they can have a child but not raise a child.

                      the explosion of Abortions, Bastards, and Social Diseases was not caused by married couples having a little fun on Saturday night. To return to the start of the thread, all of which we have witnessed before making a generalization. So, generalization, yes, hasty, no.

                      This has no relevance to my statement. I stated that considering “women who use birth control for contraceptive reasons” to be equivalent to “women who are promiscuous” to be logically fallacious for the reason of hasty generalization. The alleged social consequences of either of these things is independent of the fallacy of the equivalence.

                    • Comment by John Hutchins:

                      Robert – we have had this discussion before, there are strong demographic counter examples to your claim.

                    • Comment by Foxfier:

                      Couples where the wife has undergone menopause, along with couples whether either the man or woman are infertile for biological reasons stand in contradiction of this statement.

                      Generally, when one has to resort to the fallacy of shifting definitions, one should just stop.

                    • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                      Generally, when one has to resort to the fallacy of shifting definitions, one should just stop.

                      You say this after quoting me. I am curious: what definitions have I shifted?

              • Comment by CPE Gaebler:

                Uh….
                Even in that case, having sex with that one person and nobody else is still “discriminate.”
                Really, I have never heard of anyone who did not know that being promiscuous means having sex with a variety of people.

                • Comment by Nate Winchester:

                  Do you mean “one person and nobody else” at the same time or… we going to get into a discussion about whether serial monogamy is promiscuous or not? (but then that’s getting into the Sorites Paradox and who wants that?)

                  • Comment by CPE Gaebler:

                    We could get into that, but we needn’t go there. The original baffling comment was “Women who use birth control for contraceptive reasons are of course promiscuous.” Which is absurd. A married couple who is using contraception and is faithful in their marriage is not promiscuous.

                    I always understood the distinction between promiscuous and not promiscuous to be the presence or lack of exclusive commitment. E.g. a couple which is not married but cohabitating and not planning to separate is fornicating but not promiscuous. Or another way – it’s not the number of partners, but the attitude. Normally there is a correlation; but, say, a woman who has been married seven times and each time her husband divorced her for a younger woman has not been promiscuous, whereas a woman who has had seven partners and dumped them each for the new hot model has been promiscuous.

                    • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

                      We come back to postulates. The Pope has said (Correctly in my view) that a married person using “birth control” is not being faithful in their marriage, especially since “birth control” fails so often, leading far too often to murder, because a child was not part of the plan…..

                    • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                      Do you have a source on the Pope’s statement? I am curious which definition of “faithful” he means by his statement:

                      maintaining sexual loyalty to one’s lover or spouse

                      Which would be the opposite of promiscuous,

                      or:

                      having faith; remaining true, constant, or loyal

                      which is not quite the opposite of promiscuous (one can be not loyal but still be sexually loyal; consider the wife who secretly goes against her husband’s wishes in spending time with a particular friend, but is indeed quite sexually loyal to her husband).

                      To slide from “promiscuous” straight to “faithful” (or the other way) would be a logical fallacy–equivocation, I do believe.

                    • Comment by John C Wright:

                      Please do not waste time with semantic arguments. Words point to concepts. The concept of promiscuity and the concept of fidelity are logically incompatible.

                      That there are other uses of the word “fidelity” to point to other concepts is irrelevant.

                    • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                      Please do not waste time with semantic arguments.

                      Indeed. Though, when people use non-standard, non-stated definitions for words, they should not be surprised when people object because they are using standard definitions for words.

                      My point still stands. Using the definitions that everyone except Mr. Mitchell seems to have for the word “promiscuous”, the set of women who use birth control for contraception is not the same set of women who are promiscuous.

                    • Comment by John C Wright:

                      Catholics consider it promiscuous even between a married couple to use contraception, because they are abusing the sex act for recreational purpose rather than its natural, right and intended purpose, which is sex.

                      Once you comprehend his meaning, what is the point of continuing to argue the point? Why waste time with semantics? You can call a whale a fish or call a whale a mammal, but if you argue that a whale is small, you lose the argument whether he is fish or mammal.

                      Your earlier questions sounded like they were honestly meant. Now you sound like a rhetorician, someone trying to score points with witty phrases, rather than investigate the truth of the matter. Please go back to your previous behavior.

                    • Comment by Nate Winchester:

                      Indeed. Though, when people use non-standard, non-stated definitions for words, they should not be surprised when people object because they are using standard definitions for words.

                      Not in the case of in-group/out-group dynamics. Groups all the time amend or affix new meanings to a word in order to better convey the ideas and suppositions of that group, especially within it.

                      Example: The dictionary definition of “shield” (noun) is:
                      “A broad piece of metal or another suitable material, held by straps or a handle attached on one side, used as a protection against blows.”
                      But to a scifi nerd, the definition is: “A force of energy that protects a space ship.”
                      While to a comic geek the definition is: “The secret organization in Marvel’s universe dedicated to protecting earth, frequently headed by Nick Fury.”

                      And if nerds & geeks are using the term in their contexts, then yes they will consider a person who comes along and insists on using the original definition quite daft.

                      My point still stands. Using the definitions that everyone except Mr. Mitchell seems to have for the word “promiscuous”, the set of women who use birth control for contraception is not the same set of women who are promiscuous.

                      It’s not “everyone except Mr Mitchell” but “everyone not of the group designate: Catholic” as Robert previously made perfectly clear.

                    • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                      Catholics consider it promiscuous even between a married couple to use contraception

                      Then Catholics should not be surprised when people take offense at their wives being called promiscuous despite being always faithful to their husbands. Anyone who goes by the standard definition would find the statement either a contradiction or an insult.

                      (My wife has had a total of one sexual partner: me. We used birth control until we reached a point financially where we could support children. To say my wife was promiscuous is, outside of the Catholic re-definition, quite risible if not downright offensive.)

                    • Comment by John C Wright:

                      Your point is well taken. But Miss Fluke is not married.

      • Comment by Patrick:

        “Is there something about Sci Fi that makes you think we fanboys like whining?”

        In my experience, fanboys tend to be incredible whiners, perpetually stuck to the bottom rung of life.

        But not here! Experience isn’t everything.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          In the same way supervillains don’t necessarily like other supervillains, whiners don’t necessarily like other whiners.

          I cannot speak for other Scifi fanboys, but when I am whining about the future, I don’t tend to like femininsts and other throwbacks to the 1960’s, seven decades ago, or Marxists and other throwbacks to the Victorian Age, a century ago, because this is whining about the past.

  15. Comment by Nate Winchester:

    (starting new thread)

    This is a transcript of Ms. Fluke’s testimony. It appears to me that she is putting more of the lives of people she knows in public display, rather than her own, aside from her organizational memberships.

    Hmm Alan, you seem to have missed that Fluke has put herself out in public in far more than her testimony as she made appearances on places like CBS and the View since then. (what did she say? I dunno, as you you’ll have to kill me first before I’ll watch the View)

    Also, it gets more interesting.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/meet-sandra-fluke-the-woman-you-didnt-hear-at-congress-contraceptives-hearing/2012/02/16/gIQAJh57HR_blog.html

    Fluke came to Georgetown University interested in contraceptive coverage: She researched the Jesuit college’s health plans for students before enrolling, and found that birth control was not included. “I decided I was absolutely not willing to compromise the quality of my education in exchange for my health care,” says Fluke, who has spent the past three years lobbying the administration to change its policy on the issue. The issue got the university president’s office last spring, where Georgetown declined to change its policy.

    In fact, from her linkedin profile (archive pic here) she graduated from Cornell in 2003 to go to Georgetown in… 2009.

    Hmmm… really sounds like the girl was looking for a fight and has been in the public for awhile.

    • Comment by Alan Silverman:

      I’m not at all debating that she intentionally joined the fight, or is spending time in the public sphere. I figured the fact that she was part of this organization was evidence enough of that.

      I am simply saying that she does not appear to have actually talked about her own life publicly, especially in regards to her sexual relationships. That’s the only point I was disputing.

      • Comment by John C Wright:

        “I am simply saying that she does not appear to have actually talked about her own life publicly, especially in regards to her sexual relationships.”

        In what way is an unmarried woman publicly asking the public ministers of the law publicly to compel a public Catholic institution to fund her purchase of contraceptives not talking about her sexual relationships publicly?

        Is there some use to which contraceptives can be put, aside from halting the process of sexual conception? Is there some way that sexual contraception can take place aside from the act of during the act of sexual reproduction, which takes place during the sex act, and by definition with a member of the opposite sex?

        If she is using artificial insemination, which is the only other method of conceiving a child aside from the sex act, then she would not and could not at the same time be in need of artificial contraception.

        • Comment by Alan Silverman:

          In what way is an unmarried woman publicly asking the public ministers of the law publicly to compel a public Catholic institution to fund her purchase of contraceptives not talking about her sexual relationships publicly?

          Is she homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual? Is she a virgin? How many partners has she had, and what are their sexes? Is she currently in a committed sexual relationship–if so, for how long?

          These are questions that, as far as I know, she has made no public answers on.

          Is there some use to which contraceptives can be put, aside from halting the process of sexual conception?

          There are medical uses for contraception, which I do believe Catholic mandate has exemptions for. Outside of that, no, but the point is moot.

          There are people who take contraceptives for their contraceptive effects despite not actually being in a sexual relationship, and there are people who have opinions on the government’s relationship with contraceptives without necessarily wanting contraceptives for themselves.

          I fail to see how having an opinion and expressing it is talking about one’s own life publicly.

          • Comment by John C Wright:

            “Is she homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual? Is she a virgin? How many partners has she had, and what are their sexes? Is she currently in a committed sexual relationship–if so, for how long?”

            She has also not answered any questions about the air speed of an African swallow. Nor did you answer my question, but dodged it, by pretending we are talking about something else. I will ask again: in what way is publicly asking the ministers of the law to use the terror and majesty of the law to force a public Catholic lawschool publicly to violate Catholic religious teachings to publicly pay for contraception not a public discussion of her sexual relations, seeing as contraception has no function aside from preventing conception during sexual relations — or, if it did, there is no Catholic teaching to forbid it.

            “I fail to see how having an opinion and expressing it is talking about one’s own life publicly.”

            This is the logical fallacy of strawman, since no one is arguing that “having an opinion and expressing it” is the same as “talking about one’s own life publicly” it is also equivocation, since you are trying to equate “having an opinion and expressing it” with “publicly asking the ministers of the law to use the terror and majesty of the law to force a public Catholic lawschool publicly to violate Catholic religious teachings to publicly pay for contraception” and the two are not equal, even roughly.

            The difference is that if I express my opinion in a public forum, while attempting to garner national attention, that you should provide ME with contraception, so that I, assuming I am an unmarried woman, may fornicate without regard to nature or prudence, then by the act of expressing that opinion, I have revealed to the public that I fornicate, or wish to. That is talking about my life, or, at least, that part of the life here under consideration, i.e. whether the person who says such things is a woman of loose morals.

            • Comment by Alan Silverman:

              in what way is publicly asking the ministers of the law to use the terror and majesty of the law to force a public Catholic lawschool publicly to violate Catholic religious teachings to publicly pay for contraception not a public discussion of her sexual relations

              I’m not sure I understand. In what way is it?

              so that I, assuming I am an unmarried woman, may fornicate without regard to nature or prudence

              Where in her testimony did she ever state that she wanted to do that?

              When I was in high school, I had a lot of opinions about sex, and what the government’s relationship to it should be, and so on. Yet, the idea that my having those opinions–regardless of which stage I enunciated them on–is in any way indicative of my actual sexual experience is utterly absurd.

              • Comment by John C Wright:

                Please try to answer the question. Do you at least have a guess? I will ask it again, using slightly different words.

                Suppose an unmarried woman attempts to attract public attention and garner public support for the proposition that a Catholic institution should fund her recreational fornication. The Catholic institution, bound by the public teaching of a public church, cannot comply. So the woman goes on national television, and begs Caesar to use the public power entrusted to him, that is, the public power (which, in a representative democracy, is the public law and not a private act of charity from a king) to compel the institution, which is public, to comply. Logically, she cannot be asking privately, since it is a public forum. She is not asking for a single ruling for her personal case, as in a court of law. She is asking for a change of public policy to fund her recreational fornication.

                Women who indulge in recreational fornication are called, perhaps ungenerously, sluts. In much the same way persons who drive motorcars are called motorists. If a man makes a publicity stunt to garner public opinion to use the public power to force a public institution to buy motor petrol for his automobile, he has in effect put the fact that he is a motorist in the public eye. He has talked about it.

                Is your objection that technical one that she did not say explicitly to what use she wanted to put the contraceptives? I have already asked and you have already yielded on that issue: if she is using the contraceptive for some purpose other than preventing contraception, Catholic teaching does not forbid it, and public law is not needed to force the Catholics to violate our conscience.

                “When I was in high school, I had a lot of opinions about sex, and what the government’s relationship to it should be, and so on. Yet, the idea that my having those opinions–regardless of which stage I enunciated them on–is in any way indicative of my actual sexual experience is utterly absurd.”

                Again, you equivocate. I have asked three times, and each time I did not ask about expressing a private opinion in private. I asked about public advocacy of a policy of the law, which is public, in a public forum. No one here is talking about the private expression of private opinions. This is again the informal logical error of a strawman argument.

                • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                  It sounds to me like you are saying that if someone argues for public policy regarding sex in the public sphere, then their sex life is public.

                  I am saying that in order for a person’s sex life to be public, we must know something about said sex life. We do not even know if Ms. Fluke has a sex life. She may have been chosen because she has strong opinions and is articulate, even though she is a lesbian that would never need them for contraception.

                  If a man makes a publicity stunt to garner public opinion to use the public power to force a public institution to buy motor petrol for his automobile, he has in effect put the fact that he is a motorist in the public eye.

                  So if Steven Colbert makes a publicity stunt to garner public opinion to use the public power to force a public institution to change its policy on migrant workers, we can come to the conclusion that he is, himself, a migrant worker?

                  I am not willing to make that assumption, and to me it is problematic to do so.

                  • Comment by John C Wright:

                    “It sounds to me like you are saying that if someone argues for public policy regarding sex in the public sphere, then their sex life is public.”

                    Is your objection that we should play along with the notion that Miss Fluke speaking in the abstract, not about herself? Nonsense. If she were speaking in the abstract, she cannot serve as the poster child for the policy she is supporting.

                    • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

                      Yes. There is a context that many seem to be missing. Ms. Fluke is not something new under the political sun. The Democrats, unable to sell their programs on the merits, have been borking their counterparts and putting forward people with “Unimpeachable Moral Authority”, such as Cindy Sheehan to act as a shield for their policies. It is an ugly, ugly policy that forces Republicans to either hurt a sad, confused human shield in need of treatment, or a bunch of people (ie., let the Democrats pass their current piece of flawed policy).

                    • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                      My objection is that the statement “[Ms. Fluke] has talked about her [sex] life publicly” is false.

                      Again, if she had talked about her sex life publicly, that would imply that at bare minimum we would know whether or not she has one at present. She has not, to the best of my knowledge, indicated that anywhere. To the best of my knowledge, neither you nor I nor anyone else who reads these pixels knows for a fact whether or not she has one.

                      One may certainly presume that she has a heterosexual sex life in which she uses contraception, but it is not something she herself has stated. For all we know, she could be waiting until marriage to have sex. For all we know, she could be a lesbian.

                      I, however, am not willing to make such presumptions about her sex life. I also think to do so is untoward and ungentlemanly.

                    • Comment by John C Wright:

                      Why do Lesbians need contraceptives? Once a woman asks Caesar to compel me and mine to disobey God so that she can get free access to equipment that serves no purpose aside from recreational sex, gentlemanly assumptions as to her virginal purity are no longer required.

                    • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                      I see no point in continuing this line of conversation. It appears to me that you stubbornly refuse to accept that you are making an assumption, and I stubbornly refuse to slander a woman whom I disagree with.

                    • Comment by John C Wright:

                      The assumption made is that Miss Fluke has a personal reason for wanting the school medical program to pay for recreational sex. Without this assumption, her testimony is merely a personal opinion, of no more weight than yours or mine.

                      In other words, the assumption is that she has what lawyers called “standing” that is, a personal stake in the policy being discussed.

                      Or in other words, the assumption you find so outrageous is one which, if not true, she would have never testified, for she would have had no use as a token victim to grant the Democrat Party their moment of moral preening.

                      Your failure to see this is a personal decision for an emotional reason the rest of the world does not share. No doubt it is noble of you to fly to the defense of the chastity of the unchaste. It would be even nobler if you simply stated that this was your preference, and not to try to convince us that we are committing and intellectual or moral error for not following what is basically an arbitrary emotional decision on your part not to face facts.

                      Please don’t attempt this kind of rhetoric again. I don’t appreciated it.

                    • Comment by John C Wright:

                      If you are calling her a lesbian, but stomp off in a snit when I ask you politely why a lesbian needs contraceptives, is THIS the best response you are come up with? To call me stubborn and retreat from the battle?

                      I should have also asked why being a lesbian is not a slander, but being a slut is. In what way is perversion more chaste than promiscuity?

                      You could have bowed out gracefully. Do better next time, please.

                    • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

                      Ah, no. You are refusing to react to Ms. Fluke’s slandering herself. She did this to herself for a moment of “glory”. Again, it was not the Right that proclaimed that “The Personal is Political”. She exploited the personal for political gains, and for you to attempt to protect the reputation she tossed aside of her own free will is just sad. Your efforts are showing contempt to others, circumspect and virtuous women.

                    • Comment by Alan Silverman:

                      Since you insist, I will drop the rhetoric.

                      For the purpose of brevity, I will use the words “lobby Congress for group X” to mean “make public testimony in front of Congress in an attempt to convince Congress to pass laws that (they believe) will be beneficial to group X”

                      What I understand of your argument:
                      1. Person P lobbies Congress for group X
                      Therefore, P is a member of X

                      This does not follow, and requires one of two assumptions: either 1. “P is a member of X”, which is a fallacy I believe is called “affirming the consequent”, or 2. “If P lobbies Congress for group X, then P is a member of group X”.

                      I am not willing to make assumption 2 on the basis of counter example:
                      P = Steven Colbert, X = migrant workers
                      P = Steven Chu, X = people who drive a car regularly
                      P = Bono, X = people who have AIDS
                      P = George Clooney, X = people in Sudan
                      P = Research Fellows of Public Policy of California, X = people who are on welfare
                      P = National Association of Social Workers, X = needy families
                      P = Members of the Heritage Foundation, X = criminals

                      I would propose the alternate assumption “If P lobbies Congress for group X, then P knows something about the members of group X”. It may be that such knowledge came through being a member (in which case, they will usually indicate such in their testimony), but it can come through alternate means (for example, interacting with members of the group).

                      You also misrepresent my motives and my reason for declaring a stalemate. I have no particular moral stake in this, nor do I consider myself noble in any way on this account. Your attempts to insinuate otherwise amount to ad hominem, and I do not appreciate it. I am simply pointing out a statement that is false, and repeatedly explaining why it is.

                  • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

                    Very pretty, but incorrect. The part you seem to be deliberately overlooking is Ms. Fluke’s qualifications for speaking in front of Congress. Mr. Colbert may use his fame to attempt to hurt (in the mistaking belief he is helping) migrant farm workers. His fame is his “qualification”. Bill Gate may use his money and power to deal with Malaria. Money and Power are his “qualifications”. Mother Teresa might use the moral suasion she has acquired through a lifetime of selfless charity to help the poor. Service is her “qualification”. Ms. Fluke has none of that. Not even a job in a free clinic. She was called in front of Congress to put a face to the Sluts that need the Catholic Church to pay for their “supplies”. The Democrats know it’s harder to say no to a person, and they have abused this very human trait in the past (Cindy Sheehan) and they tried to abuse it here.

        • Comment by lotdw:

          “Is there some use to which contraceptives can be put, aside from halting the process of sexual conception?”

          Yes, actually. There are numerous other reasons for regulating hormones.* I was told, and I don’t feel like rereading the testimony right now, that Fluke herself said this was why she was using it. As Alain said, though, many Catholic insurers have exceptions for such uses.

          * A male friend of mine in high school was prescribed birth control pills to deal with extreme acne.

          • Comment by Foxfier:

            I think he was being politely oblique in pointing out that if you’re using it for something besides contraception, it’s not a contraceptive. In your example, it’s “hormone regulation.” (Which, incidentally, Fluke lied about the unavailability of; she’s rather lucky it was play-acting testimony, not real.)

          • Comment by John C Wright:

            Actually, I said it. And, and you are repeating back to me, if the contraception were being used for a non-contraceptive purpose, the Catholic doctrine does not forbid this.

            Now, does anybody think that the Democrat party wishes to use the law to compel the Catholic institutions to fund non-Contraceptive contraception?

            • Comment by lotdw:

              Sorry, I must have mistaken the course of the conversation.

              But as to your second part, no, I don’t think there’s any doubt about what the Democrats want in this case.

      • Comment by Nate Winchester:

        I am simply saying that she does not appear to have actually talked about her own life publicly, especially in regards to her sexual relationships. That’s the only point I was disputing.

        Fair enough, I was only adding the part about her history as an interesting appendum I stumbled across.

        I’m not at all debating that she intentionally joined the fight, or is spending time in the public sphere. I figured the fact that she was part of this organization was evidence enough of that.

        Though like I said, I’ve heard rumors she has talked about her life in these other appearances, but haven’t been able to find transcripts or stomach the actual videos of them. So…

        Well, even I’m not cruel enough to ask you to watch the View. ;)

        • Comment by Alan Silverman:

          Though like I said, I’ve heard rumors she has talked about her life in these other appearances, but haven’t been able to find transcripts or stomach the actual videos of them. So…

          I have heard no such rumors, nor do I necessarily put stock in them. But if she has talked about her own sex life in public, then obviously she has talked about her own sex life in public, just not in her testimony.

  16. Comment by Patrick:

    Train derailed. Reading is hard. My bad.

  17. Comment by fabulous_mrs_f:

    The truest, best and most romantic man in literature is Samwise Gamgee, who looked up the fairest queens, princesses and maids of elves and men, yet went home to his Rosie. May all men be as faithful and true as Sam.

    And this is a much better picture of the Disney princesses:
    http://fc01.deviantart.com/fs12/i/2006/315/4/7/smile_for_the_camera_by_bri_chan.jpg

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