Wednesday, September 18, 2013
I Cannot Stop Laughing. A Debate About the End of Men.
No, this is not the Onion (a satire site), but a real debate about whether men are now obsolete. And have a look at the people in it!
Paglia is ba-a-a-a-ck! Dowd is in it! And of course Rosin herself. I'm less familiar with Moran, but I have a guess that the debaters were not elected on the basis of how much they have written on the arguments Rosin posed in her book or of their ability to verify or falsify their facts. In other words, this is going to be a stylistic debate, possibly accepting the idea that facts exist to at least imply that men are now obsolete, that the so-called patriarchy is in its death throes and so on. And notice that Paglia, who appears to be on the 'against' side of the argument that men are now obsolete, seems to make an essentialist point there! It's Mother Nature which oppresses women.
OK. Now I stopped laughing. And then I got very angry (thunder sounds in the distance), because having a debate of that kind is an obscenity in a world where we have Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia and survey results like this.
It is also an obscenity in a different sense: It starts with a what-if-this-is-the-way-the-world-is, and then never explains why it would have to be that time.
To clarify: Women are closer to equality than women have ever been, in a small handful of countries in this world. But nowhere do we see a matriarchy, nowhere is a matriarchy at all likely. Yet this debate and Rosin's books assume that we are at the dawn of a (global?) matriarchy. If that's the case, shouldn't we stop worrying about those matriarchs in India and China and Africa and so on? Shouldn't we take the arguments of the misogynistic types of MRA folk seriously? Pressing a little harder on those wimminfolk?
In short, what is obscene about that is the actual situation of this world's women, compared to make-believe world in the debates.
And yes, as many have pointed out on Twitter, all those four women* are white. But I also question the selection on the grounds of expertise. It's not enough to be a famous woman to debate a topic; one needs to know quite a bit about it, too. My guess is that Dowd will apply schoolyard arguments, that Paglia will apply Paglia arguments and on and on.
*And they are also all women. This particular topic would seem to be one where the debater doesn't have to be a woman.