Wednesday, February 01, 2006

More on Men

As part of my exploration of libertarianism, I've been trying to read as many different libertarian blogs as I can find, just to nose around and try to get a feel, not only for the philosophy of libertarianism, but how it's lived on the ground. As I was saying yesterday to Chris Wage, the libertarians I know in real life tend to share certain traits--a tendency towards pompousness, a shoot-first swagger, a distrust of authority, and a tendency to treat people who disagree with them as if they're a little stupid. But, they have the brains and the intellectual curiosity to back it up. And, if you can get beyond that, you're never going to meet guys more fun to have some drinks with. But I've been looking around at other male libertarian blogs and what I've found is something very peculiar. There's the familiar pompousness, and the assholy-ness, and the patronization of the stupid, but it's unsettlingly different. A lot of libertarian men seem to describe themselves as alpha males. Vox Day is the first one I've seen articulate what he thinks being an alpha male means. I'm going to quote it at length, because this passage also settled for me the world of difference between a jackass like Mr. Day and a jackass like, say, our dear Sarcastro.
The essence of Alpha is a projected aura of dominance. This dominance can be material, physical, intellectual, spiritual or even emotional, and yet mere wealth, size, intelligence, saintliness or rage are not alone sufficient to provide it, regardless of the amount possessed by the individual. This dominance is usually strong enough to be sensed by others, even when it is not being openly displayed. Others defer to the Alpha because of this dominance whether he seeks it or not. Even when they don't really want the Alpha's opinion, they will seek his approval and it will bother them when they don't receive it. (Note, seeking approval under the guise of asking for advice can be extremely annoying. Don't do it.)
In an earlier post, he gives this advice to women:
By the way, another reason that women might do well to give greater consideration to Beta or Gamma males is that those men are much more tolerant of women attempting to control them. Lone wolves and Alphas will sooner kill a woman than submit to one, and the more a woman attempts to exert control over them, the worse their behavior will become. Some men are natural jerks, for others, it is learned behavior. [emphasis mine, obviously]
I think you can see already that Mr. Day perceives himself as an Alpha male, when he's not busy being a lone wolf. I've been thinking about this ever since I read it and I've been thinking about the Professor's insistence that understanding power only as the ability to harm those of us who are weaker than us, instead of understanding it also as the ability to keep those of us who are weaker safe, is a fundamental misunderstanding of power. I consider the three libertarians I know to be powerful men. That's why--even though their politics are so misguided and their insistence on carrying firearms without letting me shoot them* is annoying--I like them. They seem to have found a way to be in the world that suits them. And never, ever have I heard one of them say, in some off-handed fashion, "I'd sooner kill a woman than submit to her." I've never felt, even when I was being my most contrary (and I love being contrary as much as I love cantakerous men), that I was in any danger of stepping over some line that would cause them to hurt me. Frankly, it never even occurred to me. Possibly because they inherently understand that power--maybe what we might call "the ability to make a place safe"--is both about protecting from outside danger and sharing one's strength with the people inside. It's got to be a pretty fucked up understanding of power that brags about turning on the people it's supposed to benefit. It makes me think that there are libertarian men who just kind of are powerful, cantakerous, assholes by nature, but who, at heart, are good men. And then there are men who feel powerless in the face of whatever it is they fear and who set out to adopt the posture** of "powerful, cantakerous asshole." They're just pretending to be what they wish they were naturally. *The guns, not the libertarians. **There's a way this reminds me of my post about that kick-ass Michael Bertrand essay, but I can't figure out how to work it in.

42 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Won't let you shoot them? Any time you want to head East, range time and ammo is on me.

-SayUncle

2/01/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger cafiend said...

Libertarianism boils down to "every man for himself." As such it is simply a throwback to savagery, releasing physical evolution from the constraints of civilized society. A totally free man can physically dominate anyone weaker. But they're not above using modern labor-saving devices of violence, by which a smaller alpha asshole can take out a bigger one. It's all another rationalization for behavior we should be trying to outgrow. Either that or give way to it totally and "let God sort 'em out." All very well unless you happen to find yourself on the losing end. No alpha worth his testosterone will ever admit to the possibility of that.

Are we here to learn to play nicely with others? I prefer to think so. An armed society may be a polite society, but for the wrong reason. Courtesy born of fear just freezes resentments until they can be thawed out and acted upon.

2/01/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Nashville Knucklehead said...

This comment is directed at no one in particular, because I haven't been on your Libertarian exploration, and I'm sure that "they" come in many true shapes, sizes and basic philosophies.

These days, one can type away about what a bad-ass one is, a dominating alpha male, the king of the jungle, when in reality, one is in one's mother's basement surrounded by one's Jedi collection, spiraling into complete anti-socialism, bordering on agoraphobia. If one's Sitemeter begins to spin out of control, the character has been created and needs to be perpetuated.

"I will never submit to a woman!!!!"

Uh, unless she's really hot and wants to cut in line at the grocery because she's in a hurry to get to Pilates. Or if it's my Mom. Or my boss. Or a lady cop. Or a cheerleader for the Eagles . . .

Anonymous spouting off and living daily life are miles apart. That's probably why you liked the ones you met. They're actual people.

I have a lot more to say, but this is a comments area.

2/01/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Yes, but this is the comment thread on my blog, where I love long thoughtful discussions that give me a chance to bounce ideas off of other people. So, please don't cut yourself off because of some sense that it's too long.

The only unbreakable rule really is "fight about ideas, not about how much your opposition sucks," and even then, there's obviously wiggle room.

2/01/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

The title could have read "Moron Men". So we've got that going for us.

2/01/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Yeah, but I didn't want people to think this was another post solely about you.

2/01/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

SayUncle, thank you for your kind offer. I should warn you that the only time I ever shot a gun, I cried. So, you're dealing with that kind of hippie liberal, just to be upfront.

Cafiend, welcome. There's a lot to unpack in your comment--what is the purpose of our being here? Is this form of civilization the "best" or "only" appropriate form it might take? Who decides what we "should" be doing? And are there right and wrong reasons to be polite? I don't have answers to those questions, but I keep them in mind. And I think you're right that "courtesy born of fear just freezes resentments until they can be thawed out and acted upon." I'll be keeping that in mind, too.

Knucklehead, I think I get what you're saying in a larger sense. And I think your specific point is right on.

I'm really enjoying this, as I remain, as ever, intensly curious about y'all and I've never had a forum before where I was free to ask questions about what it means to be a man and actually have men give thoughtful answers.

I feel pretty lucky about that, especially since I'm such a man-hating feminist and regularly feast upon your remains and use your skulls as my goblets.

Sarcastro, in retrospect, I don't think my reply to your comment was as funny as it seemed at first. My apologies.

2/01/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Exador said...

And then there are men who feel powerless in the face of whatever it is they fear and who set out to adopt the posture** of "powerful, cantakerous asshole." They're just pretending to be what they wish they were naturally.

I perfect description of that jackass, Vox Day. Then again, if I was named Vox, maybe I'd be a dick, too.

2/01/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Mr. Mack said...

I don't have the writing skills of some frequent guests in here, but I can't allow that, or some fear of being ridiculed to stop me from chiming in...On my lonely little blog, I call it musings of an Alpha Male. It was written kind of tongue-in-cheek, because though I am somewhat dominate in a "pack" of men, it isn't by choice, or rather, by some overt action on my part, I am pretty confident because I have overcome much, and have experienced success both on and off the playing field. Though only medium in stature, I can feel a palpable (deferrence?) by other males. Sorry, told you I'm not a great writer. What I am saying is that size or projected strength aren't the only two considerations. It's been my experience that those who constantly attempt to show strength are actually rather fearful. Anyway, dominance to me means more than the ability to enforce one's will thru physical strength. It's the same with women, I think. I suppose I am throwing caution to the wind by making this generality, but I think women are drawn to strength the same way men are, but may be better at percieving it, or, perhaps I should say better at seeing thru a facade of projected strength. I was hoping to tie all this back to the original post, and the comments that followed, but I fear it's go on too long already. Suffice to say, Aunt B, any man that feels inclined to say that he'd sooner kill a woman that "submit" to her is probably the weakest member of the pack...

2/01/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Nashville Knucklehead said...

I'll try to expand, but continue to be brief. I went very quickly to the Vox Day blog, and then went to where his column is. This is all I could find out about him.


"Vox Day is a novelist and Christian libertarian. He is a member of the SFWA, Mensa and the Southern Baptist church, and has been down with Madden since 1992."

So what that tells me is that he is a character of his own creation. He may believe what he says in general, but he has to keep screaming to keep his readers and keep his hitcount up. It reminds me of the abundance of Left v Right shows on cable. No matter what the topic, they have to disagree. I always picture the production meetings like this.

Producer: "We have a show on killing puppies."

Hannity: "I want to be anti-killing puppies! I call!!"

Colmes: "Dammit, you got to be pro Christmas all last month. I wanna be anti killing puppies! Waaaaah!"

Plus, back to Mr. Anonymous Vox Day, in my experience, if you're really smart, I want to hang out with you, if you announce that you are a member of MENSA, I am runnning away.

I guess my my point is an asshole in Libertarian or Democratic or Feminist or Marxist clothing is just an asshole.

2/01/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous The Yellow Brand Hammer Co. said...

Here's an angle. I see a common vein that runs throughout conservatives (Libertarians, in this story) and the pious (particularly Christians). They're self-righteous and have a general disconcern for others. They also tend to be more bigoted (across the board) than others.

I'll share a story: I was invited to a huge party in the middle of nowhere a few years ago. This party was thrown by a prominent figure in the Tennessee Libertarian Party. It was hands-down the strangest thing I ever attended.

The other folks at the party seemed to have nothing in common other than the Libertarian link. Goth kids, rednecks in camo, old people, young people, frat boys, businessmen/women, hippies. There were probably 200 people or so in attendance.

After a bit of moonshine and a reefer, the common link started to materialize. Everyone at this party was white. Everyone. Out of 200 people, not a single brotha. The camaraderie at this party was astounding. Perfect strangers acting like best friends within minutes of meeting. Frat boys, hippies, rednecks and gothfolks drinking and smoking together. As the night wore on and more alcohol was consumed, I started to realize how horribly racist these people were. Over the course of the evening, these awful conversations became louder, more prevalent, and more bold. The craziest part is that virtually everyone was participating. Seemed like most everyone there was either discussing Libertarian politics or going on a bigoted rant. Sometimes they did both at once.

I left when I discovered that someone had drawn a giant swastika in the outhouse (while we were there).

A friend of mine who once (embarrassingly and briefly) surrounded himself with skinheads told me that they recruit like this. They throw giant "bring everyone" parties and use that as a recruiting tool.

2/01/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous indifferent children said...

You know the best thing about MENSA-bashing? You can't be offending more than 2% of the population.

I do agree with your sentiment though: tell me that you love your neighbors, tell me that you consider all people to be your equals, tell me that everyone deserves sufficient food before anyone deserves a BMW, and I will want to hang-out with you. Tell me that you are a member of the Southern Baptist church, and I am running away.

2/01/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

"Tell me that you are a member of the Southern Baptist church, and I am running away."

That is easily the most bigoted thing I have read on this website.
Honestly, you should be ashamed of yourself.

2/01/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Mack on this one. Alpha males are defined by confidence (and competence) not power. People follow you because you seem to know what you're doing.

Vox is too wrapped up in his animal metaphors. What works with dogs acting on instinct doesn't work nearly as well with reasoning humans. Telling people how powerful you are just makes you an arrogant ass. True power means you don't have to tell people how powerful/smart/awesome/rich you are because they already know.

All these references to alphas, betas, and gammas reminds me too much of Huxley. Gives me the shivers.

w

2/01/2006 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

everyone deserves sufficient food before anyone deserves a BMW

It scares me more when people start throwing around deserves.

You have to earn something in order to deserve it. Earning something requires working for it.
Deserve does not come with being born.

If only everyone got what they deserved, and that includes deadbeats that currently get something for nothing.

2/01/2006 01:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would an alpha male take out the garbage for sexual favors?

w

2/01/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

I've been thinking about this ever since I read it and I've been thinking about the Professor's insistence that understanding power only as the ability to harm those of us who are weaker than us, instead of understanding it also as the ability to keep those of us who are weaker safe, is a fundamental misunderstanding of power.

Well, the way I see this is the difference between someone being a politician and a statesman. You know, that whole 'greater good' shit and all.

Also, how bout what Mack said? That Napolean complex thing has a lot to do with this whole Alpha-male complex. Especially the part about 'women may be better at perceiving it, or, perhaps I should say better at seeing thru a facade of projected strength.'

That's the way I think about a lot of male posturing that I see.

2/01/2006 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous indifferent children said...

That is easily the most bigoted thing I have read on this website.
Honestly, you should be ashamed of yourself.


I am neither ashamed, nor bigoted. There are certain groups that consistently fight against freedom and human dignity. These groups include: the KKK, Louis Farakhan's Nation of Islam, and yes, the Southern Baptists. If you want to know where your civil liberties went, don't go looking at Osama Bin Laden, look at Pat Robertson and George W.

Southern Baptists are an afinity group. They choose to congregate with people who hold similar beliefs. This is not like race or gender, where you are treating people differently for something that they cannot control.

2/01/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

You can be bigoted against a religious group. Bigotry is not solely based on race or gender.

2/01/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Mr. Mack said...

Nope, Exador, deserves is the right term. We are all guests on this planet. Now that the food supply has been almost completely taken over, (try to grow your own if your property isn't zoned for it) we all must rely on the free market to keep food affordable. For most of us, this isn't too much of a problem. However, for many, it is, and the ability or will to work has NOTHING to do with that person's worth as a human being. People deserve to eat.

2/01/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous indifferent children said...

If I choose not to associate with members of the KKK, does that make me a bigot? If you choose to hold opinions that I disagree with and find offensive, it is not 'bigotted' of me to dislike you and avoid you.

Note: I am not talking about employment discrimination or trying to deny access to public accomodations, but personal choice of association.

2/01/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Nothing bothers me more than finding myself agreeing with the Wayward Boy Scout, but I, too, have deep issues with "deserve."

I have no issues with "obligated." I think we're obligated to try and help each other, but only insomuch as you use obligated to mean "because we live in a a community."

But "deserves." I don't like it. I think Exador and I reach different conclusions about what to do in the face of "deserves" but I appreciate him--you, I guess, since you're reading this, I assume--bringing it up.

See, Mack, I don't think we're "guests." To me, that implies that we're unnatural, that we go against nature. I don't buy that.

Or, we're guests because our real home isn't here. And I'm not knocking anyone for having that as a belief; I just don't think you can assume that everyone shares that belief, or would even see a reason to.

On a related but different topic, enough with the anti-religious bigotry bigotry. I make a crack about churches being terrible places to dump AIDS money and no one calls me on it. Don't go calling indifferent children on his cracks at the Southern Baptists.

Every group gets their turn to be made fun of; it's just how it goes.

No one's intentionally insulting anyone else, as far as I can tell, so don't take the general insults personally.

2/01/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger cafiend said...

Children deserve consideration from the parents who created them. People deserve a chance to gain the basics of life without someone else grabbing double fistfuls of the substance of Earth before they even get there.

Work is not always a virtue. Do we really have enough tasks worth doing, to employ all the hands available, let alone the new ones coming into the world every minute? Frankly, we'd be better off with a little more lazy wanking and a little less frenzied "production." Not to mention reproduction.

2/01/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Um...why? said...

I know, you really don’t want to hear from me on this subject, but I’m going to chime in anyway.

First, to Nashville Knucklehead, I resemble the man of which you described in his mothers basement, with the exception of my mother has no basement and she has created an office space in her attic which I inhabit. One day she says she is going to put in an entrance from the outside if I’m a really good boy, but I have to start putting away my dirty magazines and washing behind my ears first.

Second, to Indifferent, I believe all people were created equal, not are equal. The difference is, some people act as if the world owes them something, like the “deserve” it, then there are others who believe you ought to work for it. I don’t like the idea of people deserving anything other than those things granted them in the Constitution and maybe to the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence. I’m not sure BMW was in either of these documents.

And to the original post, I for one wouldn’t kill a woman, or a man for that matter, unless it was in self defense or defense of this country, and bad politicians don’t count. Now submitting to a woman is another story altogether. I’d submit to a woman without question if it were in my best interest to do so, like my boss, and sometimes my wife. You see, I don’t feel either one of us is in power at our house, we work that together. As far as letting them go first in line or opening doors or whatever, that is just common courtesy, and it has been in my best interest in the past as well, if you know what I mean.

“Nudge, nudge, say no more”

2/01/2006 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

The equivalence of comparing the KKK to Southern Baptists is similar to comparing Kareem Abdul Jabbar to Osama bin Laden.

2/01/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

You mean like the way the KKK chooses not to associate with Jews? I guess they're not bigots, then.

Being a bigot means being intolerant to those who differ from one's own group, be it religious, racial or political.

Look, I don't make up the words; I just hold to their meaning.

I can see we will never agree on what one deserves.

2/01/2006 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

Come to think of it, have you ever seen Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Osama bin Laden in the same room.

Mmmmm....Makes me wonder.

2/01/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Mr. Mack said...

I'm not one to usually split hairs, but almost every dictionary I consulted said the meaning of deserve was: be worthy of. Ok, in my opinion, humans are special, and I might even use the word sacred. The mere act of surviving the birthing process makes you deserving of food to maintain that very survival. Certainly any human on the planet deserves food. I understand the whole "work ethic" thing we have so fallen in love with, and, everybody should, as Aunt B put it, be obligated to everyone else. Would it have been alright to say "entitled" to eat? I think everyone is entitled to eat. Everyone is not entitled to comfort, necessarily, or material things, but food is a community endeavor, in an enlightened society. That's my .02

2/01/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

OK, Mack, let's break it down.

You believe that someone deserves food. Ok. Where does the food come from? When you're a child, it comes from your parents, who decide to give you the (literal) fruits of their labor. They had to work in order to buy the food. But that doesn't mean you deserve it. They decide; it's a free transaction.
Deserving it, means that there is some obligation that it be given to you.

What happens when you get beyond your generous parents and into the world. You deserve food. Somebody has to bring it to you, unless it just falls from the trees in abundance. Someone has to spend part of their life to get you food for nothing. They are your slave. There's no other way to say it. They MUST (by your logic) spend part of their life in servitude to you, and it is beyond their choice. They are forced (because if not, then they have chosen to, like your parents) to work for you.

Even in our country, food comes to us as the culmination of many peoples' labor, all of whom were paid for said labor, a free transaction. When you buy the food, you continue the free transaction. Instead, you are advocating that these people forfeit portions of their life, by force, because every deadbeat deserves food.
Does everybody deserve to not be a slave?

2/01/2006 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Short and Fat said...

I hate getting to the party late. B, whomever your citing with this Alpha male stuff, cannot possibly be an Alpha male.

...essence of Alpha...

No friggin "Alpha" male would use a phrase like that.

2/01/2006 08:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoying the discussion even though I have nothing substantial to contribute to it. One more hair-split, though. It's "Mensa", not "MENSA"; it's a word, not an acronym.

And yeah, telling *anyone* you're in it, unless you're *at* a Mensa meeting, is guaranteed to piss off 90% of the people you're talking to. Some people even put [their membership] on their resume, can you imagine?!? Not me of course. :)

~Mychelline

2/02/2006 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger AngharadRowenna said...

I have to say when I read this I gave a muffled cheer as I have been arguing about the use of power for years. Maybe I'm still too much of a medievalist but of course the proper use of power is to make places/people safe.

2/02/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

AngharadRowenna, how could you not love this place? I'm talking about power and regularly boring my readers to death with my love for the Poetic Edda. You'll feel right at home.

2/02/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Gina said...

"Would an alpha male take out the garbage for sexual favors?"

Nah, they just take the sexual favors...

I had the same thought the original post, Exador and other do...if Vox Day has to say he is dominant, and Alpha, etc., then he isn't. That guy's internet persona must be the most contrived bunch of cr*p I've ever seen.

2/02/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Gina said...

uh, "Exador and others did..."

2/02/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger prettylady said...

As an aside, my dear--there IS a considerable difference between the spoken word and the written one. Persons typing in the safety of their own garages will frequently resort to hyperbole for literary effect, and be the most gently-spoken individuals in person.

I do believe it is a serious mistake to confound a person's politics with their character, as I have propounded at length, elsewhere; character can only be observed over time, and rarely parallels a person's utterances.

A hint--dealing with persons who consider themselves to be "alpha males" can be akin to dealing with bulls in china shops. Attempts to confront them head-on usually result in disaster, but if one allows them to expend the force of their rage until they crater among the shards of their own rhetoric, it is sometimes possible to lend them a hand up, offering your kind congratulations upon their evident triumph.

2/03/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gang, I'm sure Vox Day doesn't walk around the streets proclaiming himself to be an Aplha male to all onlookers. It's a Blog for crying out loud. He's floating ideas, and they must be written (or said) to be discussed. If I say I think I am attractive on this Blog it doesn't mean I walk around and tell everyone I meet that I think I'm attractive. The logic of the criticisms here is absent.

2/03/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger digitalcowboy said...

I've read this post and the ensuing comments with glee. I didn't see anything resembling an alpha anywhere here. I know Vox. He's a damn nice guy. I'm proud to call him a friend. He and I get along well, in large part because we're both Christians, libertarians and alphas.

As a previous commenter said, he doesn't go around announcing to the world that he's "an alpha." An alpha never needs to. He just walks into the room and owns it.

When you get done with your "women's studies" homework, step into the real world and see if you can find a man. We're getting rare these days.

Ironically, alpha males tend to be meek (that's strength in reserve for you that are college edumacated), so they are sometimes hard to find. That's more true for those of you that don't even know what you're looking for.

Stop by my blog. I'm not trying to drive traffic because I couldn't care less about it, but I care about y'all and you need some eye openers.

Come for the libertarianism and stay for the life lessons! (Maybe I should make that my new tag line.) When you get there you should start with searching for "Lincoln" and then "feminists." Not together, though. He was a misogynist among all of his other character defects.

2/03/2006 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger digitalcowboy said...

I almost forgot...

You should also thank Vox for the big spike on your sitemeter if you're the sort that cares about such things. You can't buy traffic like this.

In fact, now that Vox has linked you, you might consider throwing up some Google adsense and making a little scratch off of this drivel.

2/03/2006 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Digital Cowboy,

I think it's abundantly clear that Vox has some loyal readers and some good friends. And I also get the feeling, from the strange tone of the comments y'all have made over here that you just read a couple of posts, figured that you'd figured out exactly what was going on, and jumped in.

Frankly, I respect the balls that takes. But you've got to understand from my perspective how strange it is to have people who haven't bothered to figure out the group dynamic coming over here to chastise us all into behaving.

I pick on the libertarians; they pick back. When we can, we like to get together and have a few beers and argue in person. It's all in good fun.

But I also know that it's something of an anomoly to have a hippie liberal girl with a blog where folks of all different philosophical backgrounds can come together and give each other a hard time. And so y'all clearly showed up here expecting to find some place that is non-libertarian friendly and you're so sure that's what's going on, you fail to see the richness of the different political backgrounds of the folks here.

Fair enough. I'm sure Vox Day is used to getting raked through the coals by more traditional feminist sites, like Pandagon, where you can make pretty safe assumptions about the dynamic of the readership.

That's just not the case here.

And, as much as I'm delighted so many people from Vox came by (though, if you'd check my site meter stats before commenting, I think you'd see it's not really enough to make a big spike, not nearly as noticeable as when Bitch PhD. linked to me or when Jesus' General did), I wish you'd read me with an open mind. I think you'd have enjoyed it.

But, instead, y'all show up here insinuating that my cooter is on the verge of crumbling to dust and that no man will ever love me and that, if only I'd shape up in the ways you prescribe, I'd be happy.

Please, you think Sarcastro and Exador don't already give me shit about that and in ways that are actually funny?

And, to point it out again, I wasn't critiquing whether there were alpha males or whether Vox is one in real life. The important point I was making is that it's disconcerting to read Vox make threats against women as a literary strategy. I know he's not actually threatening real women. He's making a rhetorical flourish to underline the kind of power he understands alpha males to have. And I stand by my original criticism of that: "It's got to be a pretty fucked up understanding of power that brags about turning on the people it's supposed to benefit."

If part of being a powerful man is protecting women, it's unsettling to me to hear self-proclaimed powerful men joking about hurting women. It makes me think he doesn't actually understand his power or how to wield it wisely.

And I'm sorry but your failure to understand that basic, legitimate, point means that there's really not a snowball's chance in hell that I'd read your blog for insights on how to get by in the world.

But thanks for the offer. Other folks may disagree and they may take you up on it. Best of luck to you, in either case.

2/03/2006 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger digitalcowboy said...

I'm impressed that you took the time to write such a thoughtful reply. Seriously.

But you give me way too much credit. I read nothing here but this post before commenting and I don't care what's going on around here. The social dynamic and the politics of your readership interests me not at all.

If you are unwilling to even look at my blog based on my "failure to understand that basic, legitimate, point" (which was imagined and ridiculous), who's lacking an open mind?

Are you scared much? Ya think me and Vox are prowling around your place because we get off on killing women? We can but we don't. We are protectors. You made the argument against your position in the process of making it.

You're educated beyond your intelligence. Stop now while there's still hope.

2/06/2006 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Cowboy,

You totally get that you're attempting to disagree with me based on fine distinctions, right?

I said I figured "you just read a couple of posts, figured that you'd figured out exactly what was going on, and jumped in."

You then said, "I read nothing here but this post before commenting and I don't care what's going on around here."

Those are really only very slightly different versions of the same thing--that you're picking a fight with an opponent you know very little about.

Then you accused me of thinking that "me and Vox are prowling around your place because we get off on killing women? We can but we don't."

But I clearly said, "I know he's not actually threatening real women. He's making a rhetorical flourish to underline the kind of power he understands alpha males to have."

And, as well, after I say "I wish you'd read me with an open mind. I think you'd have enjoyed it." you accuse me of not having an open mind for refusing to read you.

But I think you misunderstand--I wasn't accusing you of having a closed mind in general. I was merely explaining to you why I have a hard time taking your criticisms seriously (you read one post and, based on your stereotypes about feminists, responded to what you thought was a 'typical' feminist) and why I thought you were reacting so negatively to the converstion instead of enjoying participating in it (you'd already made up your mind about what was going on).

Since I'm not reading your site, I don't have any obligation to be openminded about what's going on over there. I don't have any obligation to be close-minded about it. I'm not really giving it any thought at all, and for the reason I said.

I think you guys have a very scary relationship to power, if you think that bragging, even in jest, about being able to hurt the people you're supposed to protect isn't weird.

As for being able to kill people in general, what a strange thing to brag about. That doesn't go one way or another to proving your alpha male-ness. Anyone could kill anyone else, given enough poison or a well-aimed gun.

Anyway, I've often been accused of being too smart for my own good, but never too educated. So, that tickled me.

2/06/2006 07:38:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home