It Belongs to You—Take It!!
You know what? Those FC folk are sitting on the fence—how else can I say it? However: when the big barbecue gets underway and that fence grows sizzling hot, I'm pretty sure they'll hop down right quick, on one side or the other. That is of course, unless they prefer to take their buns toasted. I mean, you never know: chacun à son goût, as they say in France! ;-)
At any rate, my comment on FC was rather long—and rather good, I thought. Long enough and good enough (with small modifications) to qualify for CF post duty. So I will share it with my blog readers now. But for the sake of context, here is the native habitat on FC where it first appeared:
And the FC comment follows:
Comment by fidelbogen | September 22, 2008 at 5:02 pmA final word: I consider female pop celebrities, on the whole, to be a demographic cohort eminently undeserving of my attention. That is, I consider this group of people to be mindshare vampires. Nevertheless, I would like to say something about Britney Spears.
These people—Schwyzer, Kimmel, Faith and all their tribe—have only as much power as the rest of the world gives them.
And since these people speak from within the feminist paradigm, it is much the same as saying that the feminist paradigm itself has only as much power as the rest of the world gives it.
To argue with feminists from within the feminist paradigm, is either self-defeating, or too much work to be worthwhile—especially when other methods (of a more efficient, pragmatic nature) might be devised.
It especially irks me to see elitist academic male feminists like Schwyzer and Kimmel behaving as if they “own the issues”—as if they run a closed shop upon all legitimate discourse pertaining to the subject. I must object strenuously to these people monopolizing the conversation about manhood and such, in their triumphalist tone of self-appointed authority—ex cathedra as it were.
It is good for these people that they can isolate themselves in self-appointed intellectual ghettos and echo chambers. It is not so good for the non-feminist sector, however, that these people should broadcast their proceedings from a mountain top as the official Voice of Truth to a disorganized population which doesn’t rightly savvy what is being fed to it—or why—and therefore apt to sop it up like an uncritical sponge-mass.
Most objectionable of all, I reckon, is that their discourse about “manhood and such” grows directly from the DNA nucleus of the feminist paradigm. Which means that (according to their program) feminism has got the contract to legislate upon the meaning of manhood. Finito!
Dialogue with these people will operate smoothly only so long as you respect certain unstated conventions—which may be summarized tersely as: “Given X, certain things follow.” And X, please understand, is always a feminist fixed idea of one kind or another. So the trouble starts when you commence (either seriously OR playfully) to reassigning the value of “X”. Do that, and watch them grow tetchy!
It is possible, I would grant, to commandeer the feminist paradigm from within simply by “twiddling with their algebra”, so to say. But it’s a hell of a lot of work, and as we have seen ever-so-many times, their zone alert system is highly effective. Witness the present instance: Hugo was hoping the thread would run smoothly along the greased rails of feminist ideology to an acceptably feminist endpoint. But Hugo smelled trouble, for the rails had developed a disturbing friction, and a stutter. So he hit the brakes and threw the locomotive in reverse. (In other words, he closed the thread.)
And that is how it rolls, every time, with their rolling-stock. They “close the thread”. Standard M.O. Foreign elements are either ejected from the zone, or else the zone is shut down—to be re-convened elsewhere. Repeat procedure as necessary. Ad infinitum if necessary. And declare “victory” every time.
In order to burst the bubble of the feminist paradigm, (and therefore bring it within the ambit of a relativizing discourse) one would need to make it both impossible to eject the foreign elements, and impossible to shut down the zone. Given these conditions, the foreign elements could (given sufficient skill) realize their objective—to wit, make the necessary algebraic reassignments, and make them “stick”. (Although it would still be a labor of Hercules, and a tedious slog any way you slice it!)
However the cardinal point remains, that to allow the tenets of the feminist world-view (paradigm) as a starting point for discussion, and then discuss your way out of the marshland point-by-point and tit-for-tat, is a profoundly exhausting way to open feminism to the currents of relativizing discourse. (Although my hat is off to any who would undertake this—far be it from me to devalue their efforts!)
But naturally, one is bound to speculate upon the alternatives. It seems to me that more leverage, more torque, can be developed and put into action by INITIALLY staking a standpoint outside the feminist paradigm, and from there, engaging the feminist paradigm as socio-political unit—a sum total of parts. . .
. . . as opposed to “earning” that outside standpoint by hacking your way out of the maze from within. For that would amount to seeking permission from somebody else to merely be yourself, and such a selfhood, granted by somebody else, is no selfhood whatsoever.
An existential standpoint foreign to the feminist paradigm need only be reclaimed, as one would reclaim stolen property. It's free because it's yours!
Having accomplished that particular miracle, that particular revolution, life (from a non-feminist viewpoint anyway) gets progressively simpler and easier. And these people, being shifted away from their subjective center of gravity, must now struggle to regain that center, step by labored step, through tangles and thickets and quagmires. Surely not an easy task. . .
But a most necessary task, a task not to be omitted, if these people would genuinely EARN that so-called "right" to pontificate blithely upon the nature of “manhood and such” without seeking the input of those who are essentially different from themselves and foreign to their world.
Okay, I said it! That's all! I just wanted to write that magical name on my blog. Maybe it'll work some Google magic for me. You never can tell.