December 12, 2008
I'm so confused that I need some brown acid right now!
When I read today's admission by Glenn Reynolds that he was confused by an attack on his "hypermasculinity," I became more confused than I was before. And that's a lot, because few people are more confused than I am where it comes to masculinity, um, issues.
Seriously, how's this for confusion?
...what I'm wondering right now is why I can't be a pre-post-operative female-to-male transsexual trapped in the body of a man, but who, because of pure luck, has no need to go through with the surgery, because I already have male anatomical features (i.e., a woman who wants to become a man but who is by accident of birth already trapped in the body of a man). It would be a terrible hardship (a cruel travesty, even) to make me surgically become a man trapped in the body of a woman who wants to become a man because the man is trapped in her body, if I can shortcircuit the entire process and merely accept the fact that I am already where I would be after surgery back and forth.So I'm as confused as the next man. Er, woman. Er, whatever.
But that's in the past. On to today's confusion. From what I can discern, Mark Kleiman claims that Glenn suffers from "hypermasculinity" of the "glibertarian" variety, and he is demanding that Glenn provide answers to legalistic questions about what to do over the fact that "the free market has been flooding the environment with de-masculinizing chemicals."
Anyway I'd better be very careful what I say about it, because according to Kleiman, Glenn "deals with all criticism by questioning either the critic's patriotism or his sanity."
Yes, I can just hear Glenn demanding in the most hypermasculine and aggressive voice imaginable, "OK, which will it be, your patriotism or your sanity? "
To which poor confused me will do a Jack Benny and reply "I'm thinking it over!"
So I'd better be like extra really careful about what I say here. Furthermore I'd better make damned sure all my links work or else Glenn will accuse me of taking bad brown acid.
Damn, this glibertarian hypermasculinity is pretty scary stuff. Mess with glibertarian hypermasculinists, and you'll be an insane, unpatriotic, brown acid head in no time!
At least I think that's the argument. What seems to have upset Kleiman the most is that Glenn had favorably reviewed The Dangerous Book for Boys -- which Kleiman castigated as "routine wingnut hand-wringing about not letting boys be boys."
What on earth do these critics have against this book? Boys like it. What is wrong with that?
I remember that Glenn Greenwald was also hot and bothered by the same book. So hot and bothered that he called Glenn Reynolds "the single most masculinity-obsessed and gender-insecure commentator in America." And -- get this -- "followed closely by his wife"!
So the most masculinity-obsessed and gender-insecure commentator in America is married to the second most masculinity-obsessed and gender-insecure commentator in America? What's that about?
Who is more obsessed competing over whose masculinity? I was confused when I read it then, and I'm still confused.
Naturally, though, such confusion only made me like the book -- which I saw as a Tom Sawyer restoration -- all the more:
"The Dangerous Book for Boys" strikes me as a Tom Saywer/Huck Finn sort of restoration project in the making, and an antidote to the growing neuter movement. How could anyone in their right mind could object to that? I Googled the book to look for objections, and found none. However, it didn't take long for an angry whiner to come crawling out of the woodwork in the form of Glenn Greenwald -- a genuine Sidney Sawyer if ever there was one. I was a bit taken aback, but I shouldn't have been, really. It was just so in character for Greenwald to object to this book. So, so, perfectly fitting. His attack on "The Dangerous Book for Boys" is a true testament to the perpetually recurring nature of the Sidney Sawyer eunuchoid personality that is unfortunately as much a traditional American character as his brother Tom. IMO, the ideal American spirit is Tom Sawyer, not Sidney. I don't think most parents would want to raise a Sid Sawyer (or a Glenn Greenwald) as a child. Nor should the schools be encouraging the development of such personalities. (Instead of banning Tom Sawyer, I think they ought to make it assigned reading.)I suspect this latest compaint is more Sidney Sawyerism.
As I observed, liking the government and hating masculinity seem to go hand in hand for such types:
I think what's important about Sidney is that he is, literarily and metaphorically speaking, a neutered boy -- the equivalent of a eunuch. Not gay, not a sissy, or anything like that, but a pliant, obedient, well-behaved lover of authority who does as he's told, runs to the authorities for protection, undermines the accomplishments of others, and thwarts those with free will and stubborn independence. (And who in all probability would think sex is icky.)And if you're for freedom and independence, and into not needing authority, you're now likely to be accused of hypermasculinism!
[Ed. note -- Whether you're straight, gay, or even transgendered!]
For the record, I think Glenn's problem is not hypermasculinism, but hyperhimboism.
I blame Bill Whittle.
Someone please gimme some of that brown acid quick, so I can help the free market flood the environment with more de-masculinizing chemicals.
We have to stop this himboistic hypermasculinism by any means necessary!
UPDATE: Glenn is now calling "hypo-masculinity" a "bummer."
Considering that the piece he cited involves cheapskate men who haggle over the price of getting "pegged", I can't be sure whether that's a reference to the acid or the orifice.
Well, it's not as if we weren't warned that the free market is evil!
Seriously, hypomasculine men getting pegged by a girl with a strap on is bad enough, but refusing to pay the going rate? Disgusting!
(I don't mind economic hedonism, but personal hedonism mixed with economic conservatism really does sound like a bummer.)
UPDATE: My thanks to the hyper-himbo himself for the link, and a warm welcome to all!
Your comments welcome, agree or disagree.
I'm especially honored to be linked in the same post which has an InstaPoll on this important topic ("InstaPundit: Hypermasculine, or Not So Much?"), and I can't help notice that Kleiman's position is coming in at last place:
Hypermasculine: A testosterone-oozing Rambo of the blogosphere.Even there, I suspect a lot of the answers were intended as humor.
But why are Glenn's critics are so hell-bent on transforming him into a rigidly inflexibly hard-core, testosterone-poisoned libertarian fanatic with a moronic macho complex? Is that simply what the anti-Reynolds crowd wants to believe in order to avoid thinking?
As to the androgenizing chemicals, all humor aside, like Glenn I'm not "opposed to all regulation, all the time" (nor do I want to put testosterone in the water supply) -- and frankly I resent the constant stereotyping of libertarians as racist social Darwinist crackpots.
And I can't help wondering about this need to project macho obsessions onto people who clearly don't have them.
Would they be singing a different tune if chemicals were making people more masculine instead of more feminine?
All thoughts welcome, because I'm still confused!
posted by Eric on 12.12.08 at 11:52 PM
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