Quote of the week

There has been much wailing and gnashing of lipstick-stained teeth over the continuing presence of those horrid little micro- (and sometimes macro-) aggressions known as gender roles; what’s more, a not-quite-insignificant percentage of one-half the species has sworn eternal enmity toward the entirety of the other half. James Lileks sums up (some of) the kerfuffle:

Modern-day sororal self-segregation is more of the same, and if they wish to form their own mutual-assistance societies of whatever form, go right ahead. No man will sue to join. To paraphrase Groucho, they wouldn’t want to join a club that wouldn’t want him for his member.

As for the male-free Internet thing, I can sympathize. Most of the vicious, idiotic, miserable, weevil-souled trolls are men, or rather largish boys who grew up on the internet and have not quite grasped the idea that there are true, actual human beings on the other side of the screen. Comments and tweets are just another form of electronic play; you shoot a hooker in the head in Grand Theft Auto, call a strange woman nasty names because she criticizes, say, the fact that you can shoot a hooker in the head in Grand Theft Auto. It’s just a game you **** and someone should do it to you. And so on.

It’s odd. You know most of these boy-men were brought up in solid homes with religious grounding, taught to respect women in the old chivalric sense of courtesy and respect, right? My heavens, what went wrong? You could say it’s confusion over how they’re supposed to behave: if you hold the door open for a woman, you’re a sexist, unless she likes you, in which case it’s romantic, although if you don’t hold the door open and it slams in her face you’re a jerk. But these roles were in flux when I was in my twenties, and we didn’t react by sending obscene postcards to strangers. It has to be something else. The internet, in general, has not created more idiots, fools, miscreants, pedants, and fiends; it has simply revealed their numberless hordes, and given them a limitless plain on which to play.

I’ve said this repeatedly at concentrations of douchery like, say, Yahoo! Answers: The asshats have always been with us. It’s just that they’ve made themselves marginally harder to ignore.

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3 comments »

  1. fillyjonk »

    12 September 2014 · 7:22 am

    “The asshats have always been with us”

    That, with perhaps a different noun used, was exactly the reaction I was going to post. (And, sadly, they always will be with us)

    There are also mean girls out there. Women are not exempt from being jerks. Some of the worst nastiness I’ve experienced has come courtesy of members of my own gender.

    I don’t know. I suppose I could find “microaggressions” if I really looked for them but I’m honestly too busy to. If someone outright insults me I’m going to tell them, but if it’s something I could chalk up to either social awkwardness or “something else going on in the reactor,” I do.

  2. McGehee »

    12 September 2014 · 9:46 am

    I sometimes worry that jerkitude may be like that old joke about insanity: look at four of your friends — if none of them are jerks, you’re it.

    So I avoid the humiliation by having fewer than four friends.

  3. fillyjonk »

    12 September 2014 · 9:57 am

    I think there’s rolling jerkitude: everybody’s a little bit of a jerk sometimes.

    Of course, there are a few people who are jerks most of the time.

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