Archives for posts with tag: SJW

Movies shape our view of the world. We are socialized not just by our parents and peers, but by the stories we consume, and movies are one of the most predominant storytellers of our current era. This makes the content of films of paramount importance. We can learn courage and determination from John McClane. We can learn responsibility from Spider-Man. We can learn about changing the world from Neo. Our virtues are shaped by the heroes we learn to emulate, since the very practice of storytelling puts the protagonist on a pedestal. A generation growing up on anti-heroes is likely to be as cynical and morose as their paragons, learning that these are admiral qualities to embody.

Rick

Rick is genuinely a bad and miserable person. The show is quite clear on that. Fans struggle to emulate against him rather than from him because of the nature of the protagonist pedestal. Similar things can be said of Bojack Horseman. I know these are TV shows. Shut up.

SJWs seem to be aware of this, and so a new spat of movie trends throw women and ethnic minorities into the protagonist role, allowing these demographics to see a hero that they can relate to. This then allows black youths to learn responsibility from Miles Morales rather than Peter Parker. We now have Katniss Everdeen to teach us how to be fearless, and Melissa McCarthy to teach us how to bust ghosts.

This seems to anger some people. Those who think that women can’t bust ghosts or that black youths can’t be responsible decry this new trend as ruining film. There are those who, regardless of quality, think that these kinds of movies just shouldn’t even be made. Soon, films won’t have white men at all, and it’ll be the great replacement all over again! It’s that cancer Feminism running amok once more!

Ghostbusters

What’s next? A remake of Leprechaun with a female leprechaun!? UNACCEPTABLE! Leprechauns can’t be female!

Let’s take a deeper look at our lessons from these common tropes. We might learn to be responsible, but it’s a responsibility to our tribe at the exclusion of the Other. We might learn courage, but it’s a courage to defend the normal rather than a courage of standing up as someone different. We might learn to change the world, but if we’re changing it into an exact copy of what has come before, this type of change is more an enforcement of the status quo rather than its repudiation.

Is this trend truly feminist? Carol Gilligan, a notable feminist, would likely disagree. All of our ethical systems since the ancient Greeks have been philosophized by men. And not just any kind of men, but men who grew up in societies that did not care about women at all. This means that these ethical systems that they devised were not informed by the situations of women whatsoever. Gilligan decided to ask the question, what if we considered women when thinking of ethical systems? Thus arose the ethics of care.

The ethics of care is born in contrast to what is typically called the ethics of justice. The ethics of justice represent systems of ethics that see moral situations in objective terms. There is a right answer, whether that rightness is determined deontologically or consequentially, and that right answer is determined in the abstract. The ethics of care seeks to find rightness is the salvaging of relationships, of meeting needs, and existing in concrete situations that are determined by the individuals and the relationships they share. While Gilligan does not dismiss the intentions of justice, she does seek to imbue care into that system in order to incorporate women’s perspectives into the ethical discourse.

in a different voice

This is coming from a book, one of the least predominant storytellers of our current era.

If this is a feminist ethic, then very few of these movies are actually feminist at all. The latest Terminator movie (Dark Fate) perfectly encapsulates this distinction. The villain is literally an unfeeling machine that will not stop. Regardless of how many Hispanic women you throw into this movie, it is a film defined by a relationship that cannot be repaired. Patriarchal ethics exist in a Manichean dichotomy that pits absolute, rigid and uncompromising evil against absolute (though occasionally nuanced) good. Feminist ethics cannot exist in this universe because the way the villain is written. If these kinds of stories are what shape our virtues, when we look at our universe, it is much easier to see our own antagonists as dogmatically inflexible monsters who cannot be bargained with. What this means is that Doctor Strange is actually more feminist than the 2016 Ghostbusters film because it conceives of a solution wherein the villain (after some degree of coercion, sure) settles their score through a dialogue. The villainy of the ghosts allows no such relationship.

The socialization that these kinds of films are expanding is actually patriarchal in nature. They indoctrinate their viewers into an ethic of domination, of a good guy with a gun ultimately crushing a bad guy with a gun, but now the good guy can be a good black woman with a gun. Those angry with these films correctly assert that they are propaganda, as all stories are propaganda for the ideology that underlie them, Die Hard as much as Into The Spider-Verse, it’s just that the propaganda isn’t feminist.

Post-Script: For those who read the title and expected a listicle, and still made it this far, congratulations on your attention span!

In a shock to absolutely no one, condemning Nazis is super easy. Industrialized murder and racial supremacy aren’t really all that controversial. I mean, I know that’s not universal and there is a certain president that seems to excel at fucking up even the simplest of value-judgments, but when there was that anti-immigration rally in Vancouver, and an overwhelming number of people showed up to say that overt racism is wrong, was anybody really all that surprised? Cuz like, Nazis are bad. Punching Nazis isn’t controversial; we’ve made video games about exterminating them with a variety of creative weaponry far more grisly than a fist since video games first started being a thing. Same thing with violence against women. Even the Alt-Right propagandist Breitbart released some articles about the recent #MeToo campaign that conveyed sympathy toward the victims. Their goals are the same as any radical feminist: sympathy and justice for the victims, and retribution against the offender. No one in the world has more respect for women than Donald Trump, because disrespecting women is bad.

We know these things because they are obvious. Nazism today is repellent. Rape is horrific. Disrespecting women is barbaric. If there’s one thing that fascists and misogynists agree on, it’s that fascism and misogyny are bad. If everyone agrees on these things, then surely bigotry must be eradicated from society. All those SJWs can sleep easy, knowing that white supremacists no longer identify as racists.

I mean, even though hate crimes are on the rise, lynchings are way down. No one is burning crosses anymore. Where did all that racism go? Why do people keep talking about it when everyone agrees that it’s bad? Well, all the -isms have gotten more subtle. Now racism, sexism, and heterosexism are most prevalent in systemic structures.

I know what you’re thinking: ffuuuuuuuuucccckkk! Systemic? Structures? What is this postmodern cultural-Marxist jargon bullshit?! If the president doesn’t explicitly say that black people are inherently worthless due to the colour of their skin, then the “system” must be equal for everyone because there can be no possible form of racism other than direct violence.

12Years_slavery

If this isn’t happening, it can’t be racist.

As it turns out, there can be. Hannah Arendt in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil gives a pretty fair description of what systemic injustice looks like. A Jew who fled Nazi Germany, her critique of Adolf Eichmann during his post-WW2 trial mostly centres on him being the most boring, inoffensive dude in the world; the Ed Sheeran of the Nazi party. How could this oppressively bland human being be responsible for the expulsion and extermination of the Jews during the Holocaust?

Systemic injustice thrives on those who participate within an unjust society believing that they are not doing wrong. They are simply following the rules, and any kind of blame for the results of those rules is so diluted in bureaucracy that personal responsibility evaporates. Everyone is so distanced from direct action that they can confidently state, “Well, I never did ________!” Eichmann, and anyone who participates in these types of systems, is seen as normal to the point of being dull because normalcy itself is the monstrosity that is causing the atrocities.

Monsters-Rampage

In this instance, George, Lizzie, and Ralph are metaphors for normalcy, and Dan’s Deli is the Holocaust. Or maybe it’s the Jews? I picked a bad metaphor here, I think.

The person has no specific value because their role in this system is interchangeable. There is no need to hate the Jews, and weeding out the sadists and psychopaths perpetuates the normalcy that is required for the system to function. Passionate people with convictions are also not particularly welcome, since convictions would negate the systemic process. Normal people are calm, educated, and endure uncomfortable realities because dirty jobs need to get done. Normalcy validates our deeds, allowing us to separate our identity from their intrinsic stigma, and quells any misgivings we might have about the way things are because the way things are is already established as “normal.” When everyone is guilty, nobody is.

To quote Arendt:

From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together, for it implied – as had been said at Nuremberg over and over again by the defendants and their counsels – that this new type of criminal . . . commits his crimes under circumstances that make it well-night impossible for him to know or to feel that he is doing wrong.

Creating an unjust normal does take some work. It usually finds its beginning in more overt and direct oppression, and then over time infuses itself into the institutions of society that become a part of the every day normal. To give an example, say I’ve shot you repeatedly, but all of a sudden I stop. Then I start saying something like, “hey now, the rules say no bleeding on the carpets! If I were to slice myself while cutting vegetables, I’d have to face the same consequences. Rules are rules!” Then you might say, “But you’re the one who shot me!” My reply of course would be to say, “That was in the past! You’ve got to own your own destiny now!” And then I’d throw you in prison or a concentration camp or something. The normal is the rule about blood on the carpets, equally held for everyone. What makes it unjust is how those very rules are framed to oppress the poor shot up jerk trying to hold his insides in.

Arendt quotes David Rousset, a concentration camp survivor:

They know that the system which succeeds in destroying its victim before he mounts the scaffold . . . is incomparably the best for keeping a whole people in slavery

In Canada, the most obvious example is that of our First Nations people. After the initial genocide and land theft died down, Canada abducted Aboriginal children and forced them into what are known as “Residential Schools” where they would be physically and sexually abused under the pretense of removing their indigenous culture and replacing it with white culture. When that started slowing down, Canadian social workers would go into Native communities, abduct children, and place them into white foster homes under the same basic pretense. This is what’s referred to as the 60s scoop. Today, First Nations children make up close to 50% of all children in care (foster care, group homes, etc.), despite only being 7% of the population. In Manitoba, they make up 88% of children in care. The rules today are that children are not allowed to be in homes where they may be abused or neglected, so they are removed. The reason that Native homes might produce that kind of environment is driven entirely by the history of abduction and abuse that they have suffered in the past. First Nations in Canada must somehow learn how to stop bleeding on the carpet, because our rules, the norms of society, will only continue to punish them for the gunshots they have endured for centuries.

In America, the glaring example is the war on drugs. Founded by Nixon literally as a reason to crack down on blacks and hippies, it continues to this day. Crack is criminalized to a greater extent than cocaine, despite the fact that the drug component of each is exactly the same, because crack is cheaper and thus more predominant in poorer, black communities. White people and black people do about the same amount of drugs, but black people are the ones getting arrested and doing jail time, due in part to the fact that more police patrol black neighbourhoods over white ones. The rules say that drugs are bad, so it doesn’t matter if those who are punished for them are predominantly from a certain group, because rules are neutral. Rules are normal. If they didn’t want to do the time, they shouldn’t have done the crime.

I mean, there are other rules that aren’t so explicitly stated as those written in the law. Regular social rules, like women are supposed to be caregivers, can create systemic opposition when women try to break free from that stereotype. It’s not sexist if it’s just acknowledging what’s “normal,” right? Gay men or those effeminate enough that the differences are negligible (outside of actual sexual preference, which is irrelevant) aren’t real men, so it’s normal to exclude them from homosocial environments. Trans women aren’t real women, and they have to abide by the same bathroom rules as everyone else. If an international corporation moves its manufacturing to a place where labour is cheap and regulations are zilch so they don’t have to pay to protect their poorly paid workers, and as a result I fall into poverty because my secure, good-paying union job has been compromised, that’s fine because companies are allowed to do that. Those are the rules. Doesn’t matter if international corporations are the ones writing them, rules are rules.

nafta-corportate-werewolf-2-e1505065922979

When rich people get richer, the GDP grows even if poor people get poorer! When the economy grows, it doesn’t matter *how* it grows! It’s a success when the numbers go up. Pay attention to that.

Systemic racism, systemic sexism, systemic injustice in general is what happens when normal people apply the way things are in broad strokes, not knowing that their very normalcy is the problem. How do you change that? Arendt resorts to biblical… I don’t want to say hyperbole because I’m not sure she intended it that way… but whatever. She refers to Sodom and Gommorah as societies where injustice had become so infused into their system that the only solution became complete destruction. It’s a bit dramatic, but as Michael Warner, author of The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life, says,

When battles have no enemies . . . victories are rare.

There’s a reason that radical leftists call for revolution. If you see statistics that say a minority group is doing worse off than everyone else, but you can’t see anyone giving them ten lashes simply for their minority status, odds are it’s because the ways the rules are set up, these groups are being left behind. They’re being told that they should stop bleeding on the carpet before they’re allowed to fully participate. The problem is normal, and changing normal is a revolutionary process. Yes, there are still people handing out lashes, there are still people firing those gunshots, but seeing beyond these obvious examples requires reevaluating the rules. And it’s something we all have to do.

Let’s finish with some more Arendt to really drive us home:

Many Germans and many Nazis, probably an overwhelming majority of them, must have been tempted not to murder, not to rob, not  to let their neighbors go off to their doom (for that the Jews were transported to their doom they knew, of course, even though many of them may not have known the gruesome details), and not to becomes accomplices in all these crimes by benefiting from them. But, God knows, they had learned how to resist temptation.

An Alpha male was completing his set on the bench press when he spied a Beta Cuck using the hip abduction machine. His masculine heart stirred at this tragedy, and he approached the poor wretch who by all accounts did not even lift.

Alpha: Hey buddy, I don’t mean to sound insulting or anything, but real men don’t use that machine. It’s for chicks. If you want to get built, you should focus on your upper body, and maybe some squats if you’re desperate to do legs.

Beta Cuck: Forgive me, I am ignorant. However, you seem to know a lot about masculinity! Perhaps you could share that wisdom and explain to me what it means to be a man!

The Alpha considered for a moment since taking the time to explain manhood to this Beta Cuck might mean losing his pump. The Alpha surveyed the gym to discover that there were few enough people to impress that he could spare a moment from his workout to enlighten this spindly creature.

Alpha: To be a man is easy. Being a man is being a provider. It means going to work, and taking care of your family. It means being strong, and lifting weights. It means enjoying a hot steak and a cold beer. Being a man means liking sports, and driving fast cars.

Beta Cuck: Surely women could do all these things as well!

Alpha: Women who like sports or lift weights are only performing those actions. They are not linked to womanhood, but to manhood. When women behave this way, they are deceiving themselves.

Beta Cuck: So to be a man is to perform acts of manhood. I see now! I think I’ve heard about this. Sex is the biological makeup created at birth, and gender is a social performance.

Alpha: No, that’s wrong. You’ve been deceived by SJW lies.

Beta Cuck: Oh dear me. I am more confused now than ever! You said that being a man is to perform manly actions!

Alpha: I did not say that!

The Alpha shook his head in exasperation. This was going to be more difficult than he thought! This Beta Cuck had endured some liberal indoctrination, but he composed himself and continued.

Alpha: What I *said* was that when women perform manly actions it is a performance, but when men do it, it is natural. Women naturally cook and clean, while men naturally provide. Those who stray from nature are performing, but those who adhere to nature are living authentically.

Beta Cuck: I see that you are being patient with me, and I appreciate that. However, I do believe I am more confused now than even before. You say that it is natural when men work and women cook.

Alpha: Yes, that’s what I said.

Beta Cuck: But within Judaism, for thousands of years there have been sects where men stay home to study the Torah, while women go out to provide for their family. This continues even today! And the most famous cook in the world is Gordon Ramsey, a man! Surely you would agree that it is incredibly unlikely that since the inception of humanity, we are, as a culture, only now and in this specific region aligning with what is naturally male.

Alpha: I suppose that is unlikely.

Beta Cuck: Men in India are accustomed to holding hands while walking down the street with no overtones except friendship. It used to be haute couture that men would wear makeup, wigs, and stockings. Even pink used to be a boy’s colour before the 1920s. If men were biologically inclined one way and women another, it would be impossible for them to behave otherwise since one cannot rebel against one’s true nature!

Alpha: It doesn’t make sense to believe that these behaviours are naturally masculine if they are only locally and temporally specific. Perhaps in the future to be a man will mean something entirely different!

Beta Cuck: But if that’s true, then what does it mean to be a man?? If masculinity is relative, then who is to say that being a man means anything at all!?

The Alpha male was struck by this. Though he had to admit, his initial impression had been faulty, he couldn’t completely disregard masculinity! He would not be able to describe himself as an Alpha Male at all if it didn’t mean anything. His interlocutor could not even be described as a Beta Cuck! His whole worldview was in jeopardy, so he decided to take a different approach.

Alpha: There is such a thing as being a man, but it has nothing to do with actions or performance since their relevance is only culturally specific. Being a man is about *who* you are. Men are stoic, rational, and assertive. Manliness is about character.

Beta Cuck: I’m sorry, I know you know more than me when it comes to being a man, but I do know *some* things. For example, temperament is related to genes, not to chromosomes. The emotional gap between boys and girls deepens as they age, with some studies showing that men are actually *more* emotional than women, which suggests that it is not a biological difference but a social one.

Struggling now, the Alpha Male began sputtering.

Alpha: But testosterone is more abundant in men, and estrogen in women! Surely that must have an impact!

Beta Cuck: It seems like you are asking me! I have already stated that I know nothing about being a man. Surely you do not mean that being a man is something that can be purchased in pill form, however.

Alpha: No! Being a man is more meaningful than that!

Beta Cuck: But you have not given me an answer as to what that meaning is at all! At best you have given examples of masculinity, though they were poor examples, when what I seek is what it means to be a man more generally.

Alpha: Being a man is… is…

The Alpha Male trailed off, and stood inert for a moment or two, before punching the Beta Cuck in the eye. The Alpha returned to a set of dumbbell curls, certain that the exercise would rid his mind of doubt. The repetitive motion soothed him, and he began to think of how much smoother his hands would be if he wore lifting gloves. For some reason the notion seemed less offensive to him now than it had previously.

The Beta Cuck lay on the floor dazed, as the gym staff rushed to his aide.

Beta Cuck: That Greek woman I white knighted on Twitter was right. I may not know what it means to be a man, but at least I *know* that I don’t know what it means to be a man.