Woof, woof

A friend once wrote to me, “Denial of intercourse is how women attempt to train and control the males. Both genders use the latter strategy to, for example, train dogs.” Well, that certainly sounds as misogynist as certain spoiled rich kids like to accuse any agenda-frustrator of being. But then I remember the way it is a commonplace of our culture that a man who fails to comply with any wifely instruction has to “sleep on the couch”, as a metonym or literally. The “sexual strike” goes back, of course, to the Lysistrata, but Aristophanes was upfront about the internal conflict involved: he showed us Athenian women who wanted to stop the war but also wanted to get laid.

The peculiarity of the modern sexual embargo, imposed not to end a ruinous war but on account of some triviality, is what it says about female need. A sexual strike sits very badly with what women have been telling us ever since the Sexual Revolution, namely that girls want to have fun too. Indeed, it seems a throwback to the days of our great-grandmothers, who spoke about giving their husband “what he wanted” to secure their economic support. Withdrawing your labour only makes sense if it is labour, that is, something onerous that you do in order to get something else. That is, if the benefit is worth the unhappy sacrifice of having to provide sex. This economic approach is simply not compatible with sex being a matter of mutual pleasure. Not many women say, “I shall eat no more cream cakes until you obey me!”
So, was this the truth all along? Were our great-grandmothers telling it like it is, that women only put up with sex to get what they wanted more? Then, perhaps, but the modern woman wants to be rewarded twice: once by sexual gratification, and a second time by other goods as if she has just performed a chore – that can be refused to punish disobedience.

Done in Bergen

A Thousand Jabbing Fingers

The Afghani writer Khalid Hosseini says, “Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman.” That Afghani women have reason to see things like this, I have no difficulty believing. And yet I should be curious to show Mr. Hosseini around a society where most of the accusing fingers are female, and where the compass needle always points to innate male depravity and male fault for absolutely everything. Who knows, we might even conclude that the man’s accusing finger started life as an over-reaction to something.

No Hay Seguridad

One day I happened to be walking past the headquarters of a Danish-owned insurance company called Tryg, which means safe and secure. It is a very comforting word in the Scandinavian languages. A meditation was thereby inspired.

Now, conservatives are always telling us how life is a Darwinian struggle, red in tooth and claw and so on, and so how there can be no security other than what we get through our own right arm. Funnily enough, the Bible goes a lot further and tells us that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, so our own right arm will not necessarily help us. Ecclesiastes knows of no solution other than, apparently, the Epicurean. Given that the moth and rust doth corrupt and thieves break through and steal, says Jesus, we should lay up our treasure somewhere else. The problem is that the “somewhere else” is the hook of the longest con.

We are left, therefore, with a world that “hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain”. Nor, obviously, security, the Danish insurance company notwithstanding. By the time we can claim indemnity, doubtless its CEO will be in Brazil spending it all on girls. For there was a reason why the State once took over social security, back in that more innocent time when a gulf yawned between private crookery and public probity, and now we stand to rediscover why.

And yet we are at the same time discovering how long-term public ownership of infrastructure or pension funds is in fact impossible. For state assets attract both parasites and pirates: as soon as they become large enough, they are irresistible targets for expropriation. The political game then turns away from the old-fashioned governance towards capture – how to get into power so as to give away the assets of the public purse, accumulated through taxes on the whole people, to one’s cronies.

It ought not really to surprise us; we have had a century or so of the strange notion that also ordinary people should have decent lives and sometime managed to forget all we once knew about shearing the sheep and flaying them. More of the world lives in cities than ever before, and cities are in the last analysis an extraction mechanism, designed to move wealth from the workers to a decadent elite.

Done in Bergen,

(Fiddle date-stamp to September 25, 2009)

Posted on August 12, 2016 at 10:39 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!, The Age of Enron-cence

Let Us Keep Our Money

Let us begin by reflecting upon a line in Jane Austen: “Two economically disadvantaged women yearn for upper-class men of perfect character”.

Well, they would, wouldn’t they? Yearn, I mean. They yearn to share the wealth of the upper-class men, whose perfect character means that they will make no attempts to withhold any of it from them. So far, so normal. But what are the two women bringing to the table themselves?

When an aristocracy takes bloodlines seriously, and imagines all sorts of qualities to reside in the genetic inheritance that we moderns would rather attribute to learned behaviour, then the women might offer soundness of family ¬– though if they are not themselves upper-class and so listed in the “stud-book”, the aristos may fail to believe it. In some times and places, the economically disadvantaged women could be quite upfront about offering sex, but I do not think that Austen’s was one of these. If we had asked Austen exactly how they thought they deserved the rich men, or what they themselves brought to the table, I do not know her works well enough to guess what she would say. I have a possibly ill-founded suspicion that she is standing at the very threshold of the Age of Bullshit, where an impecunious maiden offers an upper-class man something that might or might not be sex, might or might not be loving loyalty, all dressed up and obscured in the new-fangled language of sentiment and romance that Austen herself did so much to explore.

Ang Lee claimed that his Chinese background helped him make one of the best Austen adaptations. This puts me in mind of a fortyish Chinese woman who virtually proposed to me, at a time when I was richer than now. Trying to be diplomatic, I pointed out that I was getting long in the tooth, whereupon she said that she would prefer an old man who wouldn’t need as much sex. Really good advertising, that! So what would I be getting out of it? I never found out.

Done in Bergen

Trading Up To A God

Euhemerism is, in the words of the Wikipedia, an “approach to the interpretation of mythology in which mythological accounts are presumed to have originated from real historical events or personages” . It is common to see gods as exaggerated memories of historical kings, and their rapes of mortal women as badly-remembered incidents or accidents.

Intent on the god as actor, we neglect to consider how these stories may contain a profound truth about the other side. For the ancient maidens and nymphs in the myths are always trading up. Their abduction by the god may thus be a euhemeristic retelling of their elopement with a richer and more powerful man than their arranged husbands, or even than their own chosen boyfriends. Just as men can always see a sexier one, women can always see a richer one; and coercion by divine power makes them look less mercenary when they drop everything to get him.

Done in Bergen,

(Fiddle date-stamp to August 2, 2011)

At Least You Can Remove a Tick With Tweezers

Women claim to seek “harmony and peace”, contrasting themselves with men, who they claim seek only power and the suffering of others. How convenient, therefore, that harmony and peace can take the form of making everyone wait on the women hand and foot, while also conferring brownie points for superior spirituality. That’s a win-win.

After money, repairs, and status in the female peer group, what do women actually want from us? The prime emotional fix, the need that most requires scratching, would appear to be what is often called validation. Men need this validation too, sad to say, and so persist in needing women to flatter their vanity – although wise men have been counselling one another since forever to do something about this neediness, equally in vain.

There is currently little sign of female self-criticism in this respect, although I remember a time when feminists promoted something as quaint as independence, even if that meant doing something with their time other than endless monkey-hierarchy maintenance. Rather than question their need for this validation thing, however, modern women seem more concerned to insist that all their feelings must be right, infinitely admirable, better than those of men, and yet forever incomprehensible to the very people whose validation they covet.

The whole thing is of course fantasy – they erect a fiction in their own minds and then crave this validation from that fiction. Perhaps this demands that the couple have very little true contact, as with past generations that lived quite separate existences under the same roof. The trouble starts when we start demanding that the Other relates to the real me as opposed to a fiction, for the result is generally disappointment; and then the one sex, taught for decades that not getting whatever they want is a moral affront to the universe, cannot but respond with tantrums at our failure to rearrange our lives to conform to the fantasy.

It is a mystery why women want anything to do with us, given that they have so little respect for us in the first place. In this way I find lesbian separatists to be creditably consistent and honest. If we men really were as awful as women claim, the best policy would indeed be running for dear life. Now turn this around: if women really think we are as awful as they say, why do not we run for our lives?

Done in Bergen

The Importunates

A friend writes: “I like to imagine a god who is complete and secure enough to require nothing whatsoever from humans. Such a god would get really annoyed with obsequious sycophants sucking up all the time because they want something. Such a god just might torture Christians with eternal life and release to nirvana those of us who have minded our own business.”

I encountered a similar thought in Charlie Stross’ blog, in a thought experiment about extremely advanced Galactics who, afraid of wolflings collapsing the false vacuum, told us we had to form a group mind Or Else. One contributor raised the possibility that this offer was a test of credulity, the Galactics didn’t want greedy neighbours who answered spam advertisements. I suggested that, just as Shaw’s Joan of Arc, after overhearing their conversation, called the English the “Goddamns” (without knowing what it meant), so too there was a danger that Terrans would become the “Gimme-Gimmes’.

Done in Bergen

(Fiddle date-stamp to July 10, 2009)

Posted on July 26, 2016 at 11:12 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Religion as Worldly Toolbox, THE LONGEST CON

Mulier Mulieri Lupus

Throughout most of human history, people have been aware that individuals of either or any sex can be stupid, malicious and even wicked. Whatever some women might pretend, not even chauvinist males ever tried to pretend that no men were bad. The attempted denial of the human evil of one sex is very recent, and in my impression is limited by geography and social class. That women cannot possibly be stupid, malicious and even wicked – any accusation against an individual being a wicked oppression by a man – is something that you need to be white, middle-class, well-off and university-educated to believe. Cui bono?

Historically, women have probably gone more frequently to the opposite extreme. We find proverbs like “A woman is women’s worst enemy” all over the place. I myself am as reluctant to believe that women are uniquely nasty as I am to believe that they are irreproachably virtuous. That is simply not territory that I want to visit; I am deeply invested in the notion of human evil being intrinsic to the species as such, a by-product of its ecological role as a K-breeding predator, and not the consequence of any particular race, ethnicity, sex or any other category. Or to put it another way, I do believe in a great divide running though the species: arseholes and not-arseholes.

That female evil can so plausibly be disguised as something else is, of course, a whole different ball game. Unique to our time is the system of elaborate denial and exculpation that cannot but be extremely convenient for any female of ill will. Once again, Cui bono? That of the arseholes.

But to return to the proverbs and long history of female criticism of other females, now academically forbidden: however invested in a misanthropic equality as described above, a man cannot but wonder sometimes: what do they know about themselves that we don’t? Actually believing in the irreproachability schtick requires a complicated form of stupidity for which simply not everyone has the energy; it must be assumed that simpler souls can see straight through it to the bottom line of benevolence contra malice, truth contra self-promotion, and deliver their judgments of individuals accordingly.

This is not to say that if you want to know whether a particular lady is on the side of the angels or not, you can ask around among women. For if she is on the side of the angels, the other side will pull her down, and this sabotage accounts for a major proportion of female activity. Saying that she is no good, therefore, might mean that she is no good, or it might mean that they are no good, and there is no easy way a member of the less socially adept group, namely men, can see which it is.

The overall self-condemnation of women, however, their overall awareness of just how good they are at saying the Thing That is Not, just how good they are at “making the worse cause appear the better”, and just how good they are at psychological assassination, might induce us to re-think our traditional devotion to the sex as a whole. Perhaps we should seek the golden mean between coarse male misogyny and the veneration of women that has dominated our history, first in Christian guise and later in pseudo-scientific guise.

Done in Bergen,

(Fiddle date-stamp to February 23, 2016)

Enter Into The Joy Of The Lord

The Last Judgment, the separation of the sheep and the goats, is something that people want so desperately that they are willing to stand for hours in the rain in the hope of being classified as ‘sheep’ by a complete stranger.

As regards the girls, the dread judge Minos – the club bouncer as religious archetype ¬¬– admits the pretty ones, and/or the ones who seem available. His judgments regarding the boys are ineffable: that is, no one understands why this one is admitted to the company of the ladies and that one is sent away with a flea in his ear. If only they understood the criteria for salvation, the goats could simply decline to present themselves; it is the mystery that keeps them coming, to the satisfaction of both the club and the sheep. For here, just as in Tertullian, the chief delight of the blessed is beholding the torments of the damned.

Done in Bergen,

(Fiddle date-stamp to February 13, 2010)

Posted on July 17, 2016 at 10:19 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Religion as Emotional Tech, THE LONGEST CON

A Word We Need

It is a great male sin to be a ‘womaniser’. This is a linguistically strange term, as the suffix ‘-iser’ normally refers to giving something a particular quality or performing an operation upon it, for example ‘moisturiser’. A ‘womaniser’ does not make anyone or anything a woman, however, he is a philanderer (another odd term, looking as if it ought to be Greek for ‘loving men’), a roué, a libertine, a Casanova, a sex addict et cetera and so on. A man who wants to sleep with many women and marry none of them is going to attract all these negative epithets, as he frustrates women’s economic agenda and makes other men envious. In the early days of the Sexual Revolution, liberated behaviour by men might have been commended, but those days are long past, and the Victorian imperative never to give offence to a Lady revived under a different banner.

One element of the condemnation of the womaniser is that we suspect him of not being terribly interested in women at all. This is a violation of the Kantian Practical Imperative. But why then is there not an equivalent term for when women do it? There are women who go from man to man, without much real interest in them as people, but more concerned to collect validations of their attractiveness – which is currency in the intra-female status competition. Whereas the womaniser wants notches on his bedpost, carnal conquests, the female equivalent does not always want to fuck at all, merely to be admired for admiration’s own sake.

Why is not such a woman called a ‘maniser’? Because you will say, we already have ‘slut’, a term of opprobrium for sexually active females that does not really have any male equivalent. Ah, perhaps that gives us the answer: ‘maniser’ owes its non-existence to an understandable female revenge for the term ‘slut’. But to make an important point about how much of human sexual behaviour is actually narcissistic, we nevertheless need it.

Done in Bergen

(Fiddle date-stamp to September 2, 2013 at 09:00)