Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Consider it a public service. I notice in the last few years that feminists have become so outspoken, so rugged, so courageous, so capable and so tough, that they’re now scared to death to sustain a conversation with a non-feminist for any length of time. And by that, I mean someone outside of their militant movement, not someone who seeks to repeal womens’ suffrage. They have very passionate opinions about the issues of the day, but if you talk with them about it you quickly realize they’ve only been discussing them with other militant feminists.
It’s like they’ve been living inside a circle as it has been constricting.
The tragedy of it is, when you talk about the broad definition of “feminist,” most women qualify for that, or want to, and they should. These are the women who say: Yes, I am ready to really count, I am ready to embrace the responsibility that comes with being important. I refuse to raise my daughter to be a second-class citizen. That is supposed to be the goal. But in the twenty-first century, that isn’t really what feminism is anymore. Lately it seems in order to be a “proper” feminist, you have to subscribe to and promote a victimology. Individuals cannot meet up with challenges and simply overcome them; that is far too simple. There has to be a villain somewhere. And the villain can only be vanquished by a collective, not by an individual. The movement must be nourished, it must grow, and then we’ll all get what we want when we show numbers and our anger.
The feminists who have become strident and militant, however, have trouble understanding how their precious “movement” could ever be seen in a hostile light. They’re blind to it, because they’ve been living in a bubble in which nobody’s allowed to ever acknowledge it. They have not been policing their own.
And so they must reckon with the following dozen things people say. Of course they may choose not to; they can persist in the “If You Don’t Agree With Us About Everything You Must Think Women Are Property So Fooey On You.” They have that choice. But if they go that route, this yawning divide between hostile, brittle, extremist militant feminists, and everybody else, will just become wider and deeper.
Here is what establishment feminists have a chance to disprove, if they try. People outside the movement say:
1. That it will abandon women as soon as defending them would get in the way of promoting a progressive agenda; “feminists” proved this when they defended Bill Clinton. The movement’s credibility suffered an injury during that time, from which it has never fully recovered.
2. That it’s just another ploy to get democrats elected. Some entitlement program will be proposed, and “since women are always stuck with the kids” it’s supposed to become an “issue affecting women.” Of course, when it comes to “the environment” they don’t even bother to come up with a justification. Instead, “environmental issues” become “womens’ issues” as well, as if men don’t have to live in the environment.
3. That it has very little to do with a more important role for women; it’s really about greater power and prestige without the associated responsibility. It is an organized process of collective bargaining, to make it more profitable for women to get married, have kids, and get divorced. And so over time it does not make women more respected. It does not invigorate womens’ intellect because it does nothing to challenge it. Women must go above feminism if they want to make themselves more rugged, intelligent, capable and esteemed.
4. That it isn’t really about empowering women to choose things. Whenever feminism brings women a choice, feminism wants women to make the choice a certain way, so it isn’t really bringing them the choice.
5. That abortion is quite a profitable industry — in fact, it’s about as male-dominated as any other — and feminism is in bed with it. People who call it “pro-abortion” rather than “pro-choice” are, for the most part, absolutely right.
6. That they aren’t very curious about ideas, not very well-read. They hang out with other feminists. They frequently fall prey to False Consensus effect, and are very often taken by surprise with what non-feminists really think. Mosts feminists will find this list shocking and waste no time and saying so.
7. That it fails to promote individuality because it fails to encourage logical discourse. They do not argue logically. If a feminist disapproves of something, usually her reaction will be to rally other feminists around her and they’ll all help each other to ridicule and deplore it. Invariably, that will be the feminist reaction to this list.
8. That they are interested in complaining, not about learning. All feminists step forward, now anybody who hasn’t learned to drive a stick shift step back. There won’t be many left.
9. That it’s hostile and negative. Women earn scorn from “feminists” when they do something nice for a man, place importance in a man, say something nice about a man, dress up for a man.
10. That it has a lot of scope creep to it but it doesn’t want to be called out on it. Their two favorite issues actually would diminish the role of women in our society — gay marriage and abortion-on-demand — and if you utter a peep of protest, suddenly all they want to talk about is how they want to give women the right to vote, as if we were still living in 1910.
11. It is divisive. It has to be; when you’re protesting that Congress is 80 percent male, or whatever it is, you’re saying it’s impossible for someone in Congress to represent constituents of another gender. Without that baseline premise their argument falls flat, and with it, they have to be placing men and women in two separate societies.
12. That it is rude. It associates itself with jokes about female body parts. It encourages young ladies to behave in ways that will repel male attention when they’re in their twenties (and bring it when they’re about eight).
I think what’s been going on for the last generation or so is this: Someone will occupy a position of great influence within an organization of militant feminism, and at some point this person will have to retire; of the candidates available to fill the vacancy, the more “energetic” candidate will prevail, which generally means the more hostile one. And so across the decades, the movement pickles. The people inside it cannot see it, and they end up mystified as to why their movement is losing sympathy with the broader populace.
Most of the feminists I’ve talked to who are really enthused about crusading under the banner of that “F” word, are filled with admiration for Hillary Clinton and scorn for Sarah Palin. This, of course, makes no sense whatsoever. They cannot explain why this is. Of course, they know the reason and I know the reason too.
But if you were to bring me to a space alien who was interested in our culture, and feminism, and he was able to understand all the concepts that were really relevant but was entirely ignorant of recent events, and Republicans-and-democrats…I wouldn’t be able to explain it to that space alien. You wouldn’t either. Not without a word-for-word explanation involving that Item #2 — which, of course, would tick off the militant feminists.
And then if they could hear that conversation, they’d lose no time at all in invoking Item #7. It would become very noisy.
And so the word is losing meaning. It has a broad definition and a very narrow one. The narrow definition of “feminist” is becoming acrid and vituperative. It has been marinading in victimology, and in victimology you always have to have a bad guy behind every problem. Bad things cannot simply happen, nor can they be solved without lots and lots of drama. The persons who have been living in this world, I’m afraid, are becoming useless to others and to themselves. Their efforts are not compatible with their stated goals.
The problem is even more pronounced with men. Men can be feminists; men can be both kinds of feminist. Men without a progressive bone in their whole bodies can get plum-tuckered-out of dating dim, helpless women and become hungry for someone more worthy, responsible and competent. And men can also become self-loathing. They can sign onto the Sally Field nonsense and codswallop about “If mothers ruled the world, there wouldn’t be any G*****mned wars in the first place.” It’s a real puzzle for a fella when he meets a woman who says something like “I’m a feminist, are you a feminist too?” That could mean just about anything.
Maybe it’s time for a different word.
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