Yesterday James Poulos, writing for Tucker Carlson’s Chronicle Of A Career Death Foretold, penned a gaseous belch of a post called “What Are Women For?” which was, offensive title aside, what you might expect if you were to dump two scoops of over-educated rhetorical flatulence, a half-cup of undercooked thought experiments, a few overly-ripe bon mots, and a soupçon of undeserved self regard into a blender set at ‘blather’. The end result is what Empedocles fondly referred to in his Purifications as a “steaming pile of donkey poop.”
Roy took a shot reading it and came away as flummoxed as I did:
What the fuck is he talking about?
Seriously. I’m not very well educated, and half drunk most of the time, but I do know how to read, and I swear to God I have no idea what he’s saying. I don’t know how “a civilization of men, for men, and by men” relates to anything else he said. I don’t know what he means by women’s “privileged relationship with the natural world,” unless my browser has failed to show me the picture of a lady sniffing a purty flower that was supposed to explain it. And as to “imitation by quasi-feminized males of quasi-masculinized females,” it sounds like Archie Bunker had one of those Flowers for Algernon operations.
At which point Roy called out “Help me, Mr. Wizard!!” by which he meant Noted All Purpose Internet Smart Guy Dr. Professor Michael Bérubé who knows “Twizzle, twazzle, twozzle, twome; time for this one to come home” when he sees or unfortunately steps in it. Bérubé replied in the comments:
I have determined, on the basis of my thirty years of advanced (and, on occasion, national-security seekrit) literary study, that Mr. Poulos’ work is indeed modern, perhaps on the very cusp of the post-modern. To wit, forthwith, and without further ado, my textual evidence:
To the growing discomfort of many, that framework hasn’t come anywhere close to answering even the most basic questions about what women are for — despite pretty much universal recognition across the political spectrum that a civilization of men, for men, and by men is no civilization at all, a monstrously barbaric, bloody, and brutal enterprise. Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia a few inherently meaningful implications about what women are for flow naturally from this wise and enduring consensus, but no faction of conservatives or liberals has figured out how to fully grasp, translate, and reconcile them in the context of our political life it is established beyond all doubt what many deny that man in Possy of Testew and Cunard that man in Essy that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation wastes and pines wastes and pines and concurrently simultaneously ironically, one of the best places to look for a way out of the impasse is the strain of left feminism that insists an inherently unique female “voice” actually exists that’s a claim about nature what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the strides of physical culture the practice of sports such as tennis football running cycling swimming flying floating riding gliding conating camogie skating tennis of all kinds dying flying sports of all sorts autumn summer winter winter tennis of all kinds hockey of all sorts penicillin and succedanea much good would come from a broader recognition that women have a privileged relationship with the natural world. That’s a relationship which must receive its social due — if masculinity in its inherent and imitative varieties (including imitation by quasi-feminized males of quasi-masculinized females!) is not to conquer the world.
Honestly, Roy, I think this pretty much speaks for itself. Modern, postmodern — it speaks to us all.
To which a lesser professor would add “Heh, indeed” because he probably didn’t read it, busy as he was posting links to incredible savings on toothbrushes or whatever at Amazon.
But getting back to Polous, if we must, he has responded to the general pointing and laughing and mocking and snickering and eye-rolling and merry-making and jerk-off motions at his expense by playing the Jonah Goldberg Variation which is that thing where people call you out on your shit and you respond with “But this is central to my point..fart fart fart. Fart fart. Fart fart…. actual poop“.
My recent column on the difficult relationship between human nature and sexual politics has generated a response that itself is worth talking about. The wave of anger and condemnation that has come from some quarters is dramatic evidence that the column’s central contention is right….
No no no.
No it is not.
It was poorly written folderol, hoo-hah, and balderdash and the response to it was to point out that it was ….poorly written folderol, hoo-hah, and balderdash. Nobody was disputing your point because there was no point to be taken. And you don’t get to come back today and turn in a new paper saying, “Well here is what I meant to say yesterday and can I have my other paper back? Do over! Tap tap no erasies!” and then run back to your Couch Cushion Fort of Hard Thinking.
We will, however, allow you to travel backward in time to summarize this:
9/11 notwithstanding, there is no future caught between the two modes of indie abandon, in which irony is meant mostly to hide the hurt. As techno-paranoia and the fast-track spectacle of The Future gripped the imagination ten years ago, today we find agony and anxiety in a condition that seems impossible to escape from for more than stolen minutes at a time. It’s a psychosexual milieu in which satisfaction seems obsolete, mutual manipulation is common currency, and fully contingent commitment defines our interrelationships. Stanley Kubrick’s last masterpiece got mixed reviews (coming just slightly before its time as it did) for portraying the desperation of the contemporary sexual imagination — and its almost nihilist emotional craving — as the spirit of the age. But Eyes Wide Shut perfectly reflected the glint of the slicing edge of its time as much as 2001, bluntly asking: How do you escape from escape?
In Rainbows, with its carnal grip, relates in much the same way to OK Computer, with its chrome-trimmed space aria. This weird malaise of the Bush years, in which time has seemed so enduringly out of joint, won’t disappear in a puff of Hillary. Many in the Radiohead generation have always sensed the hard-to-articulate connection between the contingency, directionlessness, and corruption of the world at large and that of the world swirling in our heads, hearts, and souls.
It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it