Monday, July 4, 2011

Frank and Beastial

In a blog post that divides the world as he sees it into "Pegs and Holes," Dilbert creator and occasional sock puppet master Scott Adams stirred up quite the online crapstorm earlier this month. Unsurprisingly, a number of critics took him to task for his assertion about "tweeting, raping, cheating," that "the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable…. society has evolved to keep males in a state of continuous unfulfilled urges, more commonly known as unhappiness." Jezebel's Lane Moore took him to task for suggesting "that 'boys' are pretty much designed to be rapists" and Mediaite's Alex Alvarez took on the "misandrist notion that men are base, selfish creatures who cannot control their impulses and, thus, require something else – like women – to act as the gatekeepers of morality." Here at Salon, I called Adams' post, among other things,"spectacularly bonkers" and "extremely lunkheaded," and noted "the world is full of men who can distinguish between sexual urges and violent, aggressive ones."

In response to his critics, Adams laid down the gauntlet in a follow-up post: "I'd like to offer an opportunity to one of the writers at Salon, Huffington Post, Jezebel, Mediate, or Mediabistro. Allow me to interview you, by email, for this blog, on the topic of why you so vehemently disagree with your hallucination of my opinion. (Fair warning: It won't work out well for you.)"

Well, how could I resist an offer like that? (Jezebel's Irin Carmon also took up the challenge.) I wrote Adams that if he would let Salon run the interview as well, I was all for it. On Wednesday, he replied, asking me to "BRIEFLY describe your main objection to my blog post, Pegs and Holes," and we have both agreed to run our responses unedited. This is what transpired, on Adams's blog. (Mary Elizabeth Williams, “Scott Adams takes on Salon,” Salon, 23 June 2011)


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King Ape

If what we were debating here was if there was some deeply satisfying pleasure we have been missing out on had society enabled the more primitive instincts -- not just male -- in us some play, I think we're at the point where the onus is on the person intent to disagree with this possibility. Not so much the male self, but the rather traditionally male-seeming neanderthal, our TRUEST WHOLE selves, everywhere we're learning/rediscovering, has been suppressed; our everyday normal life is being revealed not so much as civilized, however compromised, but as perverted -- in denial of who we really are. The food we've been eating is too processed and finely prepared; our delicate take on children (and child-rearing), so distorted to demand stark reveals; criminals, vandals, too tenderly treated and optimistically imagined; Pittsburgh steel workers dispossessed and scrambling while East Coast literatti tea; Others' sensitivities and rituals, too long in the way of common sense and what is really good for our country. Distortion after distortion -- it's past time to get back to bare knuckles, to cease this nonsense of being tolerant and civil.

Both Scott and MEW seem similar in that they've both had it with patience and are FOR the melee -- neither of them (at heart) would seem too discomforted if the Gods and Authority in their arguments made their opponents feel as if pressed to make their riposte while managing a big foreign dick in their mouths. ("Does this make you uncomfortable? Good.") They are both FOR the neanderthal, with Scott showing himself still more essentially the cubicle man, and MEW, that she's always been king ape, finally demonstrating her reign. The civilized may not now even just be becoming dilettante: convincingly, they've been cubicled, and what's up now is the rest of us sizing up and clubbing to see who'll command the largest slab of meat.

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And the winner is MEW -- and Scott's overall point

Mary Elizabeth Williams just shot Scott Adams full of holes. (Amity)

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I don't know what happened to nice, proper, pencil-sharpened, assignment-neatly-filed Mary Elizabeth Williams, Editor — I don't know, and I don't care, because I would much rather read what this Valkyrie, this slayer, this, okay if not towering giant then at least an upright-standing,

strong-backed, journeywoman of coherence and intensity has to say. (Amity)

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MEW, well-done, you handed Scott Adams his balls, so to speak. (mneme48)

MEW is victorious here, but in victory she mostly proves the essence of poor, marginalized, emasculated Scott's point: that there is something not just natural but GLORIOUS in our more aggressive, primal selves, that feminizing civilization / sociability can only understand as barbaric -- to be kept in check, if complete banishment isn't possible. Scott is willing to miniature himself -- "I accept Society is good and that it must come at the cost of my manhood" -- so to make his castration, his grievances, more deserving of soothing, but in truth, and especially with MEW, what this debate shows is that the glorious, angry, uncompromising, brutal and engaged Valkryie/neanderthal/King Ape suppressed in all of us, is OBVIOUSLY worth a hell of a lot more than whatever had worked so long to cage it in -- whose ostensible all-too-obvious virtues are now, actually rather in need of being unscrolled for us again.

As Amity conveys, what MEW mostly shows here is that what society ... scratch that ... what WE need most is less of the caging and compromising and placating, and much more of virulent "piss[ing off" and "goad[ing]" so our inner, magnificent -- to hell with it -- FRANK AND BEASTIAL selves are aroused and finally get more play. The debate is not so much "MEW 4 and Scott 0," but FOR drive and unimpeded, uncomplicated conquest and THE FULL WITHDRAWAL of finicky, touchy, tremulous civility and restraint.

Link: Scott Adams takes on Salon

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