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Monday, October 17, 2011

The Return of the Pig

"A little learning is a dangerous thing but a lot of ignorance is just as bad." - Bob Edwards


The Return of the Pig

"To enter the world of Maxim is to enter a world entirely free from the taint of polite opinion. Even the editors of Playboy and Penthouse maintain intellectual pretensions, but the single-minded pursuit of horniness is the Maxim editors' most striking trait... these men have not a hint of any quality that might make them attractive to progressive and mature women. Their world has been vacuumed free of empathy, sensitivity, and sophistication. It is as if millions of American men—many of them well educated—took a look at the lifestyle prescribed by modern feminism and decided, No thanks, we'd rather be pigs...

Some believe that it is a product of masculinity in crisis... Another theory is that Maxim-style retro-sexism is just a self-conscious, deliberately ironic joke. The men are making fun of themselves as much as they are degrading women...

The most interesting thing about the surge of retro-sexism is how unprepared feminists and other enlightened thinkers are to deal with it. The ironic tone of the material defeats them. Feminists seem to know they are being toyed with. They don't want to appear to be earnest plodders in the face of hip, playful gestures, and they don't want to grant that anyone is more postmodern than they are...

Human beings, even at young ages, are pretty good at distinguishing fantasy from reality. A young man can listen to Eminem while driving his Camaro, imagine himself as an angry young badass, and then have dinner with his girlfriend and her mom and be perfectly polite and civilized. Eminem himself is regarded by his neighbors as a pillar of the upscale gated community in which he lives.

Another unnerving feature of retro-sexism is that much of it comes from an unexpected direction. Many progressive thinkers, having inherited a century of radical European thought, assume that the most oppressive and reactionary parts of society are the rich, the powerful, and the wellborn. Partly for that reason they have tended to direct their protests against elites...

The parts of society that, according to the class-conflict model, should have been the most reactionary—the affluent classes—have been the quickest to adopt progressive mores. It is the least privileged parts of society that are often the most sexist, reactionary, and even materialistic. We have a dynamic urban culture that treats women like whores and that regards owning a Mercedes as the highest possible human aspiration, and the leading articulators of progressive opinion have almost nothing to say about it. They can't seem to bring themselves to admit out loud that their most effective ideological enemies have turned out to be the same underprivileged people they wanted to rescue from exploitation...

Feminists or progressives or conservatives who blame the cultural elites for most of society's ills are attacking a monster that can't control its own movements. The elites are often a step behind, trying to catch up to the real innovators. All of this raises a set of hard-to-answer questions. How do you react when people further down the social pecking order—whether they are disenfranchised whites or underclass urban minorities—are creating a culture you find degrading? How do you criticize that culture without seeming square, elitist, or even racist? No one has figured out the answers."

Perhaps men would rather be pigs than guilty, insecure, sinful villains (thanks to "Male Privilege")

A corollary to the Return of the Pig would be the Emergence of the Bitch - but then movements such as the Obedient Husbands Club can likewise position themselves as ironic.

This illustrates the poverty of traditional "X are evil" (i.e. "X Privilege") thinking. The article could also mention the complicity that women have with "retro-sexist" culture, since traditional theory would treat them as either as idiots who can't think for themselves (since no right-thinking woman would act in this way), exploited paupers who are only doing it for money or Uncle Tom analogues.
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