Digression via vertiginy

Preface

This little piece is in a sense, a spiritual (I hate that word – note: replace) successor to The Loser, which I wrote back in early 2011 and published this year. A unifying principle between this and more recent thoughts, is one I expressed in September

I hope to unsettle, to induce doubt in misogynists (and racists, and ablists, and racists, and homophobes, and so on), through short fiction, poetry and satire, directed at the commonplace. I want to implicitly suggest uncomfortable questions, and yes, I will enjoy watching certain types of people squirm as they doubt themselves.

This can be generalised, of course, to include people who aren’t misogynists, or racists, or homophobes, or so on. If I can induce a little discomfort more generally where people are a little too comfortable (the wealthy?), so as to induce a little reflection, then that’s useful as well.

The following piece is intended to challenge genuine misogynists, through to those who may be a little too casual with their use of a certain reference to female genitalia. I can’t help but think that using sexual references in the negative, is a little too puritan as well – sex is awesome.

I hope to polish things a little in future, in preparation for ambushing an open-mic, or a poetry reading session or two. It’s possibly too long for a slam, although I haven’t rehearsed it yet.

[Note: References to genitalia over the fold, to keep the censors happy. Paraphrases an actual conversation that may trigger some people, so there’s that as well.]

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…assuming the mantle.

I didn’t get it, and I haven’t got it for most of the time. I’m only just getting it – the faux-masculine shibboleths that I’m expected to observe, in order to be ‘one of the guys’.

Especially the degradation of women as rite of passage.

Don’t get me wrong…

I’m nobody’s knight in shining armour (I think this will be the last time I repeat this for some time), and I don’t believe in chivalry towards women – chivalry, as opposed to decency, assumes that women are frail objects to be protected like delicate porcelain in a world they’re not equipped to deal with. Women are no such thing.

I’ve got an interest in this. If pseudo, and actual misogyny, are used as defining criteria for what it is to be masculine, then I consider that an imposture. I don’t want that group identity lumbered on me, and moreover, I’m willing, if imposed upon, to fight for my stake in masculine culture to the exclusion of other men.

Gentlemen, if you’re going to make an asshole out of yourself in the first instance, I’m not going to take much notice when you make squeals of indignation, when you get a little comeuppance. That is unless, I find it justifiable, useful, and entertaining, to laugh at you.

Seriously though, some men really shit me. The things that some of you expect me to take on board as normal, or healthy, or unappealing-but-otherwise-not-rebarbative.

[Trigger warning: There isn’t anything explicit beyond this point, but the subject matter is rather dark, delving into the dank, unsanitary world of misogyny, as it does].

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The Loser

Preface

The first complete draft of this post was finished in April of last year, and was initially to be completed and published at, prior to the closure of, Thinkers’ Podium. This did not happen.

Again, in Spring of 2011, I planned to publish The Loser, this time at Rousing Departures, after the heat surrounding ‘ElevatorGate’ had passed down. This in order for it not to be misinterpreted as a passive-aggressive swipe at any of the people involved (including but not limited to ‘Elevator Guy’). This was delayed again, as another bloke, ‘Felch Grogan’ (aka ‘Franc Hoggle’) stepped into focus, making bit of a goose of himself, albeit worse than ‘Elevator Guy’ – I didn’t want to have this post entangled with that drama if I could avoid it.

Since then, ‘Felch’ has made a bigger goose of himself, in obsessing over Ophelia Benson…

‘Ophelia is a poor woman’s Catharine MacKinnon. If I was a girl, I’d kick her in the c**t. C**t.’

(Felch Grogan/Franc Hoggle/etc., 2011)

The above link leads you to ‘Felch’s’ website, where he explains the quote in-context… as if it somehow makes it less abusive. Despite knowing about Felch’s website, and some of his other antics, I didn’t know about this particular episode at the time, and it was only after other issues popped up that I was made properly aware (thanks Chrys).

I’ve had my head down, and not being properly informed of the specifics, I haven’t been able to comment at length in the kind of detail I’d like. I’ve been uncertain on what tack to take in launching arguments on the topic, in what has become a very tribal, very polarised debate, predominantly because I don’t know what it is I’m launching arguments into.

I can say now, I’m even less happy about the whole train-wreck, and accordingly I no longer care if this post is received by individuals, as an attack on them or others in particular – they can be as defensive and deluded as they like. If it helps, I’ll cede for the sake of argument, that they’re an instance of the class of bloke I’m writing about in this post.

Despite this anger, what I would like is for other parties reading this, particularly parties with a stake in recent feuding, to realise this post in its original form predates the whole ‘ElevatorGate’ fiasco, and that it’s far more general in scope than a personal slanging match. There is a risk of the message being lost or dismissed through such misinterpretation.

A work of short fiction, it draws from Martin Amis’ ‘The Last Days of Muhammad Atta’ (2006), inspiration for the viscera of neurotic, sexual repression, albeit not with Amis’ gender politics. For those a little squeamish, or with delicate tastes, The Loser contains harsh language, ‘adult concepts’ and bodily functions.

For the rest of you deviants, just follow over the fold…

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