Is Fidelbogen a "Misogynist"?
In that spirit, allow me to reiterate the query which the title initially poses: Is Fidelbogen a "misogynist"? I would reply, that Fidelbogen cannot be bothered with this, that Fidelbogen finds the question unintelligible and devoid of content, and finally, that Fidelbogen doesn't give two spits about the emotionally-overwrought ninnies who would even file such charges in the first place. Those people have no moral authority.
Moral authority, as the phrase itself intones, is . . . moral. This, in turn, presupposes morality -- which presupposes honesty at a very minimum! And the difficulty which the term "misogyny" sets before us, is that it bears far too much semantic cargo upon its slender back. There is simply no way this poor little beastie of a word can pack the enormous freight of meaning that certain people want to saddle it with. It is simply dishonest to pretend otherwise, and dishonesty sets moral authority upon a cracked foundation.
Misogyny is said to mean hatred of women. But that is problematic at the outset, because hatred is not in the least a static or bounded phenomenon. It shades off, rather, into a diminishing spectrum of ill-feeling which dwindles gradually into indifference. Furthermore, it fluctuates greatly according to time and place: does a misogynist "hate" all women all of the time? Some women all of the time? Some women some of the time? All women some of the time? Or does he only mildly dislike them in these combinations? And how if he likes or dislikes men and women across the board in roughly the same proportions?
So the problem, as we soon find out, is that hatred of women is transitionally related to a continuum of other things, that these other things are transitionally related to still other things, and so on. And that in the end, we don't rightly know where to draw the perimeter of inclusion for misogyny as a category -- because any point on the transitional continuum would set an arbitrary boundary to that category. Yet we DO know that certain people want to dilate that perimeter as far as they can arbitrarily stretch it, in order to squeeze the male population onto a narrowing system of behavioral pathways. All in all, it is a totalitarian contrivance of manipulations, dishonest in the extreme, devoid of what you might call morality, and so, devoid of the authority which morality confers.
Accordingly, if anybody calls me a misogynist (which in fact has happened!), then I simply shrug it off. I haven't the least trepidation concerning the moral authority of the speaker, for I am sure it is worthless paper without the gold to back it up. Their power over myself, and my political cohorts, is in remission. I have calculated my rhetorical effect in all things, and I know how to tune my voice to a wider public which hasn't got such arcane standards. It is not that the accusation of misogyny, in itself, scandalizes or affronts me. Rather, I should say it has zero meaning for me. It is an abstraction with no bona fide moral existence, no fixity, no intellectual heft or gravity. The person has not truly said anything, but only broken wind out of his mouth. And flatulence, as I need scarcely inform you, is toothless. Furthermore, it only works in a sealed chamber -- and the world is much bigger than that!
When I was a five-year-old little kid, back in Salem, Oregon, I got into a conversational misunderstanding one day with a seven-year-old big kid. This seven-year-old big kid thereupon found occasion to make known to me, in resolute terms, his considered evaluation of my character: he told me that I was a WALNUT!
Now, I was a sensitive lad, and I recall being traumatized by this. For you see, in the young-kid lexicon of that time and place, to call somebody a "nut" was bad, bad, serious stuff indeed! But Scott, with his innovative "walnut" thrust, was clearly upping the ante and giving a supplementary twist to the dagger! To call a kid a nut, was a cruel, heartless stroke. But oh. . . a walnut! That could only be. . how shall I say?. . . a nut plus ultra! Truly, it crushed, humiliated and annihilated me, to the very core of my being, to be called such terrible thing -- a walnut!
Well, they say that time heals all wounds. And I don't mind informing the entire world that time has more than healed that traumatic lesion which a seven-year-old boy in Salem, Oregon inflicted upon my five-year-old psyche when he called me a walnut, while standing under a chestnut tree on Chemeketa street!
Now let us turn again to the question which the title of this article bids us consider: Is Fidelbogen a "misogynist"? And again I would reply, that Fidelbogen cannot be bothered with this, that Fidelbogen finds the question unintelligible and devoid of content, and finally, that Fidelbogen doesn't give two spits about the emotionally-overwrought ninnies who would even file such charges in the first place. Those people have no moral authority.
I mean that the question is so meaningless it is literally impossible to answer. Therefore I wash my hands of it altogether.
Years ago, you could have called me a walnut, and it would have crushed me. Today, I wouldn't know what the hell you were talking about, and I would laugh!
And years ago you could have called me a misogynist, and I wouldn't have known what the hell you were talking about. Today, I would STILL not know what the hell you were talking about! And yes, I would laugh. It would be as meaningless as calling me a walnut. Yes, you can call me a misogynist, or you can call me a walnut. It is all the same to me! The gravity of the accusation, and your moral authority to make it, would be identical in either case.
About a week ago, I was driving in my car thinking about things, and all at once something memorable occurred to me. So I pulled over to the roadside and retrieved from my glovebox the pencil and memo pad which I keep handy for such occasions. And if anybody should persist in wanting to know if Fidelbogen is something called a misogynist, the following pregnantly meaningful sentence which I scribbled on that day will tell you, in a walnut shell, everything you need to know:
"I grant any woman I meet the freedom to prove that she is what she is."