Sunday, April 08, 2007

the unfashionable argument

IOZ and Kevin Drum find something to agree on in the form of a recent Kathleen Parker column, even down to the mode of mocking it, the long-suffering Dinesh D'Souza. As IOZ’s response is more interesting, I’ll quote it at length:

With that long introduction, I can only say that in tone if not topic, you could easily imagine this scolding editorial by notable Orlando uterus Kathleen Parker to be a harangue about the folly and sin of women's suffrage, say, or legalizing miscegination. Here is the heart of it:

We can debate whether they're right until all our boys wear aprons, but it won't change the way we're perceived. The propaganda value Iran gained from its lone female hostage, the mother of a 3-year-old, was incalculable.

It is not fashionable these days to suggest that women don't belong in or near combat -- or that children need their mothers. Yes, they need their fathers, too, but children in their tender years are dependent on their mothers in unique ways.

There's not enough space here to go into all the ways that this is true, but children (and good parents) know the difference even if some adults are too dim, brainwashed or ideologically driven to see what's obvious.

Why the West has seen it necessary to diminish motherhood so that women can pretend to be men remains a mystery to sane adult.

In the annals of bad writing, there's probably not a greater transgression than the habit of making a broad, potentially counterfactual assertion, and then following it with the familiar, "There's not enough space here to go into all the ways that this is true, but it is true, by god, and everyone knows it." That, of course, is the priciple tactic of the gender traditionalist, who feels that with thousands of years of the ol' patriarchy on his side, women bearing the brood and men tilling the field, women baking the bread and men hunting the boar, women weeping and men warring, why, how otherwise could it be? These are people who embrace an essentially static model of human knowledge and understanding. That virtually every other thing our species believed about itself and the universe around it throughout almost the whole of our history on this planet has proven to be not merely wrong, but spectacularly wrong, fundamentally wrong, wrong to the point that wrongness loses its categorical meaning and slips off toward infinity, is irrelevant where boys and girls are concerned. Boys like trucks; girls like dolls. That's the way it's always been, and by my four humors and all the ether between here and canal-crossed Mars, by the wheel of Apollo's chariot and the angry spirits of the harvest, I swears to ya that's the way it shall always be, amen.

What our authoress is saying in the pages of the Post is that we must keep our womenfolk-wombearers cossetted and coddled, baking bread as they themselves ferment and rise, in order to avoid the possibility that the weak leader of an impoverished theocracy might one day use some British ladycakes as an example of the fact that We, the West, are Wimps. "You gonna let yer lady do it for you?" Oh-ho-ho, it's like when Marissa Tomei knew cars and Joe Pesci didn't. The message: Mothers, stay home. Don't go off to war. Don't get raped--it is, like, totally worse for women.

I suppose it's what you'd call the Dinesh D'Souza school of thought: treat your women as would your enemies, in order that your enemies not treat your women as your enemies otherwise would.

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