Flaccid lines for flaccid cocks: masculine self-pity amongst cartoonists

I’ve only just latched on to Scott Adams’ withdrawn-but-not-retracted, reposted-with-caveat, misogynist-rant story, most probably because I just don’t care about the Dilbert cartoons. Increasingly, I’m finding cartoonists a pretentious bunch who reduce life to corny sentiment and ignorant generalisation, before serving their work up with the utmost piety. Consider Leunig.

Leunig, who while using his trademark floppy lines to decry the culture of kids left in daycare centers, failed in a series of cartoons back in the day, to manage much anything other than blame mothers as a causal factor.

But it was his response to the outcry (being called a misogynist and having pointed out to him scenarios like the single mother who has to work while her child is in daycare because her husband is a deadbeat) that was laughable. Claiming of being called ‘a misogynist’…

‘It’s like saying a wife-beater, a racist, a paedophile. I think this type of accusation accounts for a lot of men being silenced about all sorts of things.’

(Bettina Arndt, ‘All Care…’, Sydney Morning Herald, 2000)

Yes. Poor Leunig, Australia’s most popular cartoonist. Nobody ever gets to read what he has to say, being so suppressed by the jack-booted forces of mere disagreement.

I never tire of saying about such self-pity, that you’ll know nanotechnology has matured as a field when it finally creates the violin small enough to play an appropriate lament.

Unless they have some kind of anxiety disorder or are considerably undereducated, the only things men are really worried about saying that could attract criticisms of misogyny, are misogynistic things. Which naturally they want to express without being called on it.

Things like claiming women have all the power nowadays (boo-hoo sniffle), that women in some way have to take responsibility for being raped, or fixating on the role of women in condemning children to day-care sans commentary on the role of deadbeat husbands; women being forced to stall careers; industrial relations realities like the rise of the two income family, and so on.

And what shameful apologetics Arndt was enabling, prefacing the above Leunig quote with…

‘Hence their attempt to silence him.’

(Bettina Arndt, ‘All Care…’, Sydney Morning Herald, 2000)

We’re talking about academic criticism, and letters to the editor, not privations by The Ministry of Truth.

‘Hey Bettina, someone down the street doesn’t like Leunig’s artwork!’

‘TYRANT!’

‘They used the word ‘misogynist!’

‘Sorry, you’ll have to repeat that last bit. The conversation was silenced.’

***

Now If you really want to appreciate just how over the top the poor response to criticism shown by Leunig and fans alike is, you need only consider Leunig’s use of moral equivalence between being called ‘misogynist’, and being called ‘pedophile’. If you accept Leunig’s equivalence, then you really can’t balk at something along the lines of…

‘Being called a paedophile is like being called a racist, a misogynist. I think this type of accusation accounts for a lot of friendly neighbourhood kiddie-fuckers being silenced about all sorts of things.’

Oh, the poor, brutally suppressed kiddie-fuckersbeing compared to… misogynists of all things!

No. Not buying it.

This is absurd precisely because Leunig’s equivalence is false, and spurious, and downright pathetic. Yet Arndt gobbled down Leunig’s terms without so much as a hiccup.

Being called ‘misogynist’ is not the same as being called ‘paedophile’, and the criticism isn’t made to silence Leunig. Leunig’s work is criticised as misogynistic by critics because it’s misogynistic, and because this warrants criticism. Pretty straight-forward stuff, at least for grown-ups.

On occasion I’ve suspected that Legal Eagle over at SkepticLawyer may be just a little blind to subtle winks, nudges, veiled facetiousness and the like, which could just be the chief source of my disagreement with her about the old GrodsCorp crowd. But in the case of Leunig on Muftis, religion, sex, women’s freedom of expression and the threat of rape, Legal Eagle gets it exactly right. Leunig’s post hoc justifications only serve to verify what his critics are saying.

At least he spared us the spectacle of calling his oppression fascism; ‘gleichshaltung‘ is how Leunig describes his critics disagreeing with him – and you know we’ve got gleichshaltung in Australia when not everyone agrees with Leunig, the poor victim.

***

Now on to that other poor victim, Scott Adams.

Adams, a couple of weeks ago, as mentioned, managed to churn out a post that drew infuriated responses before being withdrawn back up the author’s own fundament.

After opening by telling us that he’d been in contact with readers concerned with Menz Rightz, Adams elaborated…

According to my readers, examples of unfair treatment of men include many elements of the legal system, the military draft in some cases, the lower life expectancies of men, the higher suicide rates for men, circumcision, and the growing number of government agencies that are primarily for women.

(Scott Adams via TinySprout, 2011)

I’m not so unsympathetic to fathers in custody battles that I’ll say there’s nothing in it, nor will I say that male circumcision is a non-issue, because it isn’t. But give me a break.

No, better still give Adams and his readers a sense of proportion (or history)!

The lower life expectancies of men are a very recent phenomena, pregnancy for the better part of human history being the cause of much lower life expectancy rates for women. The present difference (in the developed world) is an artefact of recent and abrupt medical/biological realities, not an imposition by a matriarchy hell-bent on immortality for women only.

As a guy, all else being equal, I’m probably going to die younger than most women in the developed world, historically/statistically due to the benefits of contraception. I’m not going to resent womens’ rights for this, or the subsequent, massive improvement in their quality of life! Good for them!

At some point in the future, when we’ve got over the discussion of the risks of reproduction to women (not just in terms of death rates, but in terms of economic and social inclusion), when the last penny has dropped for the last reproductive ignoramus, then the matter of male lifespan may be a whole lot more demanding (or given the likely timescale, the issue may rectify itself without any Adamsian advocacy).

As it stands, the matter of womens’ reproductive rights (bound intrinsically to, but not limited by, the reality of womens’ lifespans) is for most women far from being something able to be taken for granted. When you have laws being drafted in the US, that would potentially see women prosecuted for a miscarriage, or when you see serious political consideration given to ‘screening’ rape victims into categories of ‘forcible’ and ‘non-forcible’ rape (thanks John Boehner), it’s clear there’s still a long way to go.

Yet if you read further into Adams’ pathetic rant, the limited and flawed liberation of women in this respect, is somehow part of a monolithic feminist utopia, one which men are intimidated by, and should be resentful of.

Seriously, what do these guys want? A magical medical breakthrough in male longevity isn’t realistic, so the alternative is to coercively calibrate women’s reproductive rights so that on average, they die earlier at just the right age. Then perhaps Adams and his readers can dance through the streets in a ticker tape parade to celebrate The End of The Gender War.

(And what if they want equality of standard deviation in those stats? How coercive would that have to be?)

***

Having had to duck, what with a pack of Germaine Greer’s thugs probing my study with a spotlight beamed from armed patrol jeep, I almost missed the part where Scott Adams segued with…

‘Now I would like to speak directly to my male readers who feel unjustly treated by the widespread suppression of men’s rights…’

(Scott Adams via TinySprout, 2011)

Tell me about it brother! Oh wait…

Adams was being sarcastic?

‘…Get over it, you bunch of pussies.’

(Scott Adams via TinySprout, 2011)

It was a bait-and-switch all along? Well no, not really.

‘The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone… It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.

So parsing all this sarcasm, what we are left with here is the suggestion that matters of gender difference (less pay for the same job, longevity and health, and so on), are merely territories to be tactically ceded in a battle against women.

‘Being old sucks, so let them have it’, is an interesting, if interestingly stupid take on the cultural evolution of women’s longevity, when you consider the unavoidably associated reproductive rights. The criticism laid before the faked about-face, still applies afterwards – Adams still needs a sense of proportion and history if he doesn’t even recognise that he’s dismissing the tenuous but significant gains in reproductive rights, with simple, base ageism.

And besides this, what ‘battle’ are we talking about? I’m not at odds with women claiming that they earn less, nor demands for pay equality.

Maybe I’m not a part of the ‘team’ of man, Adams talks about; a fifth columnist! Maybe I’m one of these irrational ‘pussies’, too hung up on ‘fairness’.

‘Fairness is an illusion. It’s unobtainable in the real world. I’m happy that I can open jars with my bare hands.’

(Scott Adams via TinySprout, 2011)

What rubbish. Not all inequalities are as intractable as the difference in the capacity to open condiments with bare hands (roar). Many aren’t. Once women couldn’t vote, now as a result of political effort, they can. There’s nothing at all unobtainable about campaigning for ‘fairness’. Quite a lot is obtainable if you pay attention to history.

Imagine Scott Adams if he was a polemicist from the beginning of The Enlightenment.

‘Stop trying! It’s futile to invest effort in female emancipation! It’s unobtainable in the real world because I can open jars!’

A 21st Century perspective would make Enlightenment Adams seem the dunce, in much the way it makes him seem the dunce in the here and now.

Adams cod-philosophical, phony-stoicism, belies a need for convenience (and some pretty base standards) in order for him to be able to consider himself in any great esteem. I may not be as rich as Adams, and I don’t begrudge him his financial success, but I just couldn’t live if I had to judge myself so lightly.

***

Amidst all this bluster, there’s one especially telling piece of bullshit.

How many times do we men suppress our natural instincts for sex and aggression just to get something better in the long run? It’s called a strategy. Sometimes you sacrifice a pawn to nail the queen. If you’re still crying about your pawn when you’re having your way with the queen, there’s something wrong with you and it isn’t men’s rights.

(Scott Adams via TinySprout, 2011)

Oh dear. Honestly, I laughed. Nothing forced about it.

There are two types of guys who use this kind of adolescent bluster.

Guys who ‘get with the queen’, in which they’ve been selected, merely being allowed to consider it a conquest in order to keep them pacified; the guy usually suspecting something and therefore needing to reinforce the myth of his own prowess, just so his cock doesn’t shrivel up.

And then there’s the forty-year-old virgins who loudly fake confidence and a track record of sexual conquest, all the while secretly holding the faith that some day Neil Strauss will deliver, allowing them to unleash an angry, battered inch from Calvin Klein catacombs.

Outwardly confident, inwardly self-loathing and resentful. Chest puffed-up, balls ascended into abdomen. Smiles and winks with cock-skins more wrinkled than Leunig’s wobbliest lines.

That getting to ‘nail the queen’ is given as an example of natural instincts for sex and aggression, is probably a bit telling.

~ Bruce

Caveat: I’m not at all remorseful about using male sexual-imagery as pejorative. Protestations that talk of ascended balls, and flaccid penises, is like dismissing a women for the size of her breasts will not be well met. I’m using the schlong as metaphor, for one. Something that the penis is apt to do being a particularly expressive organ. The old cock and balls; balls risen in fear, dick shrunk in revulsion, relaxed and hanging about. How’s it hangin’?

Moreover, the sexual objectification of women is something historically imposed upon women. Cock talk hasn’t been foist upon men at all; much of the history of male sexuality is the history of guys talking about their gum-nut nestled in bush.

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5 thoughts on “Flaccid lines for flaccid cocks: masculine self-pity amongst cartoonists

    • I had the caveat in mind before I chose the title, and it was a concern well before I’d even considered a post with this much phallic metaphor. Recently I’ve been seeing self-pitying dudes raise the ‘feminists laugh at my peen’ card a bit too much, and with much exaggeration, so I thought I’d burst that bubble while I was at it.

      It wasn’t an afterthought!

  1. Loved it loved it loved it.
    It’s true that the Men’s Rights whiners are prone to using such overblown macho terminology that it comes across as just plain silly. Especially when you realize that most of them are dull men with white collars. Hardly the noble savages they wish they were.

  2. Great article Bruce! So many brilliant pithy quotes for me to appropriate (with full referencing of course). The line: “I never tire of saying about such self-pity, that you’ll know nanotechnology has matured as a field when it finally creates the violin small enough to play an appropriate lament”; needs to be printed again and again.

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