An Unspoken Assumption

Over at Vox Popoli, this was part of the discussion. A reader there commented:

“I remember my Zen teacher (an American who was deeply immersed in Japanese culture, one of the first generation of top-level Zen teachers in America) remarking once ~30 years ago that in Japanese culture it is simply assumed that if a man and a woman are alone together, there’s some hanky-panky involved. May not always be the case, of course, but it seems to be a good default assumption, if you want to run a successful, lasting culture.”

My comment:

I assume I am a bit more old fashioned than most, but, honestly, this was the default assumption we once saw in American culture.

I was just showing my children CASABLANCA, the Bogart/Bergman film from just before WWII. Because the character Ilsa was traveling with the hero Victor Lazlo under her maiden name of Lund, Rick Blaine (and presumably the audience of the day) assumes she is a demimonde, that is, a fallen woman, a paramour, no better than a whore.

Without this assumption, Rick’s bitterness when he first speaks with her is incomprehensible: he think’s he’s been played for a sap by a manipulative harlot. When she announces in the next scene that she is married to Lazlo, the shock on his face is once again incomprehensible unless the audience understands the assumption that no woman travels alone with a man other than her husband, much less stays with him in the same hotel, unless there is ‘some hankie panky’ going on, or she is his sister.

These unspoken commonplace assumption are decried by feminists as unfair, even oppressive. Leftism is defined as a rebellion against reality and reason on the grounds that reality is unfair. Feminism is rebellion against sexual reality and reason.

In reality, these assumptions are sound and sane, and assuming a young man and a young woman can have a friendship without a sexual overtone to it is false: men young or old automatically start being gallant (that means boasting, preening, and showing off) around young women or feminine women of any age, and woman automatically being gracious (that means start flirting) whether they know it or not.

The idea that it is liberating for men and women to strip off their sex and turn into neutral eunuchs so that they can meet and work together as units in the factory or office is a false idea.

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