Archives for category: Social Criticism

There’s a lot of accusations flying around about certain groups, individuals, and local white male terrorists saying that they are misogynist. It’s a fair claim. A lot of their actions possess underlying, or even blatantly overt, violence directed towards female humans. Misogyny is the hatred of women, but do these men actually hate women? From the common progressive standpoint, obviously, and to question that canon is essentially to turn in your progressive credentials. However, claiming the alt-right, the incels, the white supremacists, and the Jordan Petersons hate women is kinda like saying terrorists hate our freedom. It’s painting the antagonist with purposefully broad strokes to make the Manichean dichotomy easier to propagandize.

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All this could be solved if our glorious leader and their wicked despot had a cage match on Pay Per View.

Simone de Beauvoir wrote that women struggle to rebel against men because they are dispersed throughout every category; blacks, whites, rich, poor, and so on; all of them have women. Women cannot simply cleave themselves from their biological counterpart, and even though whites and blacks could eliminate one another, Jews could eliminate every last gentile and vice versa (as has been attempted), women cannot get rid of men. This makes rebellion against male dominance much more complicated. While de Beauvoir was writing about the predicament of being woman, the same holds true for men. Man cannot wholly rebel against women. Hatred that longs for catastrophic destruction of the thing hated is a non-starter. Misogyny in its purest sense is just implausible.

Elliot Rodger, the champion of misogyny, killed a whole mess of people because women collectively decided not to have sex with him. Is it fair to say he hated women when Rodger clearly desired them? A love/hate relationship could be argued, but I think that is far too simplistic. Rodger believed that women should have sex with him. They did not, which means that women were not fulfilling their role as sex-havers. It was this dereliction of duty that drove him towards violence.

Let’s look at another example. The Jordan Peterson clip I hyperlinked earlier shows Peterson describing why women cannot participate in rational discourse: men can’t be physically abusive toward women because of social norms, and violence is the only thing that keeps discourse rational between men, therefore women can say the craziest shit in the world, and men can’t rough them up for being so dumb. This creates feminism, I guess. This is stupid for many reasons, the most glaring being that it ignores the fact that men commit violence against women all the God damn time, but what makes it allegedly misogynistic is that it conceives of “woman” in a specific way. “Woman” is not rational, “woman” relies on notions of chivalry for her own benefit, chivalry is a thing, etc. Now I doubt that Jordan Peterson hates women, he makes sure to mention that he married one after all, but it’s clear that his beliefs about women have something wrong with them.

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Women! Amirite?? If men could just somehow commit violence against them, then none of this would ever have happened!

What’s the link between Elliot Rodger and Jordan Peterson? They both define “woman” as something that women as people cannot be. Women are autonomous, freely-choosing human beings. “Woman” is not irrational, nor is she a sex-haver, in the way an inkwell is an inkwell. Peterson and Rodger categorize women in such a way that eliminates her humanity. Certainly women can be irrational; they can also have sex. The problem is that defining women in such a way limits their freedom, and when you demand they act in a certain way that they naturally cannot adhere to 100% of the time, you’re bound to be disappointed (especially during an age when a lot of women have been empowered enough to not give a shit about what you think).

What we’re calling the hatred of women is the enforcement, through words or deeds, of an anachronistic (if not outright fictional) idea of “woman.” If some woman decided to have sex with Elliot Rodger, he likely would have been fine with her (up until she stopped). If a woman agreed with Jordan Peterson, he’d think she was a-okay. Conform to these ideas, and the hatred disappears. It’s not hateful attitudes that is driving these men, but the idea of what a woman should and should not be. Were Elliot Rodger to say, “I want to have sex with a woman,” what he means when he says “woman” and what someone else might hear are two totally separate notions.The problem isn’t hatred; the problem is that these ideas of what is “woman” are wrong.

THE STEPFORD WIVES, Toni Reid, Carole Mallory, Tina Louise, Katherine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Barbara

Women are biologically determined to conform to their social role

If you believe that women should be or perform Y, and you don’t have any problems with women who are and do Y, you will never self identify as someone who hates women. You’ll just be wrong, and if you act on your wrong beliefs to shame, abuse, or kill women who do not fit into this fantastical mould that you’ve created in your mind, then you are raging against human beings for being human.

And you need to stop.

They say that if you’re not a socialist at 20 you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative at 30 then you have no brain. Now this quotation may have originated as derision against naive republicans by the more sober and rational monarchists, but now that democracy is pretty much universally understood as the undeniably greater alternative, our current incarnation of this maxim must be the definitely true version. That being the case, now that I’m over 30, I must concede that justice is a worthless cause and self-interest is the highest virtue. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m stupid enough to deny the supremacy of inherited, incestuous leadership! …I mean, conservatism!

So here it is. My conservative conversion expressed through the medium of cute animal pictures. Eight of them.

1.

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I believe that anti-white rhetoric has a censoring effect on my speech, but I never quite make the leap to believing that anti-black, anti-women, and anti-LGBT rhetoric might have the same impact

2.

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Communism can never work because centralized power is intrinsically corrupting and destructive, unless it resides within the corporate executive office, in which case centralized power is the bedrock of civilization itself

3.

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You might think it is disingenuous that I equate anti-fascists with fascists, but it makes a lot more sense when you remember that I also equate refugees with terrorists and war criminals

4.

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I absolutely loathe the permissive, liberal, welfare culture that surrounds me, but I refuse to welcome the statistically more conservative, community-oriented, and traditionalist immigrant groups because of their “culture”

5.

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Let’s convince those abroad of the supremacy of our values by murdering their families. If that doesn’t work, it can only be because they reject our values

6.

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I vehemently support law and order policies, but not corporate regulations. Rules are for people, not businesses. If you put arsenic in my drink, I will revel in your lethal injection, but if your company dumps toxic chemicals into the river that feeds into my reservoir, I will support you 100%

7.

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I claim to be devoted to my neighbours, but I believe that my personal views should supersede the collective view when deciding the community’s future. If there is any attempt to include me in communal responsibility, I will call it theft. I actually reject the very notion of society because I enjoy pretending that I transcend any kind of real participation within it

8.

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I choose to ignore the entire scientific community simply to spite liberals

9.

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For some reason I am ominously comfortable with a nuclear holocaust. Like, I’m sure you get by now that this is a parody, and to be perfectly honest I think that tradition and community-values are important to keep around, and that the conversations surrounding trade and globalization are nuanced and complex, but like, what the fuck is the deal with being just TOTALLY FINE with world-ending catastrophes?

I know that last one wasn’t a cute animal picture. I only promised you eight.

Back in 1985, which, for you math whizzes out there, is one more than 1984, Neil Postman wrote a book detailing his fears that the authoritarian dystopia featured in the novel 1984 was not nearly so prophetic as the Aldous Huxley novel, Brave New World. It was titled Amusing Ourselves to Death, and it analyzes the dizzying amount of information glutted upon us by television at that time. The thesis of the book is that the medium through which an idea is communicated intrinsically impacts the very content of that idea. His formative example is that one cannot communicate deep, philosophical dialectic through smoke signals.

Postman then goes on to describe the greatness of the written word. One of his arguments is that typography necessarily requires statements that bear an inherent truth or falsity. For example, an advertisement that claims, “Drinking this beverage will make attractive people desperately want to have sex with you” is either true or false. Compare that to an image of a celebrity holding a beverage which is neither true nor false, but empty of any real content.

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“Beyonce is holding a beverage and pointing at it.” That is the textual equivalent to this image. Doesn’t work so great in text, but as an image it conveys something beyond rational argument.

Images, and television which is simply a series of them, don’t convey truth but rather emotion. Beyonce holding a Pepsi and pointing at it makes you feel a certain way, and Pepsi is hoping that feeling is going to be associated with their product. The two ways of communicating, differences innocuous at first, are radically distinct. One necessarily requires rational argument (however blatantly absurd the propositions within it may be), the other requires entertainment value.

Postman goes into significantly more detail than I have here, and offers many more examples, but I just wanted to give an idea as to how the medium of an idea affects the type of communication available within it. The written word requires context and logic; television requires quick cuts and soundtracks. However, 1985 was a long time ago, and communication has come a long way. How does the medium of social media define the content of ideas within it?

Those familiar with this blog will know that I have shown many different limitations imbued within the communication framework of social media, but I want to discuss one thing further that is quite topical in today’s news. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that data firm Cambridge Analytica gathered information on 50 million Facebook users without their consent (stole it, hacked it, whichever), and then used that information to aid both the Trump presidential campaign and the Brexit Leave campaign. Social Media is notorious for selling its users’ data to advertisers, so allowing it to be harvested for political gain, regardless of consent, is not all that surprising.

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By reading this blog, you are telling whichever organization that’s tracking your online habits that you are a chump. Sell that to the Russians, Zuckerberg you pasty-faced twat!

In addition to this, Twitter tends toward fake news, and YouTube’s algorithms tend toward conspiracy. The explanation for this seems to be that far-fetched ideas are more entertaining, and thus receive more hits. Getting more hits means it’s more popular, and popular things receive more attention from data algorithms. Conspiracy nuts like InfoWars can take advantage of this, and get away with promulgating stories like Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are operating a sex-trafficking ring out of a pizza parlour. Bullshit sells, and so the owners of social media allow this manipulation to dominate their programming because social media is ultimately a business.

Which brings us to how the medium of social media determines the content of the ideas within it. Social media are owned by monopolies that make their business by harvesting information that people willingly give them, and then manipulate those people based on that information. A collection of Facebook ‘likes’ can predict personality better than a person’s spouse, and that information is owned by an amoral, profit-driven monolith. Those who communicate within the medium of social media are inherently being driven by behind-the-scenes machinations of whoever has the money to do so, be it advertisers, political parties, or foreign influences. The content is inherently bent, the longer we participate. It is no longer our message, but becomes that of another.

This is not entirely new. He who owned the printing press determined the content of its papers. The oligarchy that developed from media consolidation owns American news media, and they determine what we consume in traditional media. The difference with social media is that we are the content creators. The manipulation of communication has become far more intimate. We determine what is produced, therefore we must become the thing determined by others.