We’ve talked about group-think that consists of thinking in bumper stickers. Believe it or not, after I went through all the trouble of writing a long post about the evils of letting mentally ill/drug addicted/otherwise alienated people overrun downtowns — evils which include harm to poor families thrown into homelessness and having to share their space with truly dangerous people and harm to poor children who depend on libraries for books and learning materials – I got someone on facebook answering with “someone needs to take care of these poor homeless, and most of them are families, and it’s heartless not to want to face a little inconvenience to help them.”
… Even though we’re not in fact helping them and letting them run through cities with no restraints of law or even of “conditions to receive social services” put on their behavior is causing harm to a lot of people, particularly poor and marginal ones.
That is slogan thinking. This woman learned that she should “Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” and she’s not going to stop and think for nobody. Because as long as she holds on to this idea that anyone trying to curtail homeless services is heartless and hates the poor she doesn’t have to wonder if the way we’re (not) “helping” the chronic homeless is destroying families, and communities, and small businessmen, and the simple trust of citizens in a civilized society.
She doesn’t have to think about anything, because she has her slogan, and it’s a security blanket. She can clutch it and sleep through the night in the certainty that she’s one of the good guys.
These slogan-thinkers, when you consider they vote and also scat all over public discourse with their unthinking affirmations are bad enough. But there is worse. Oh, man, is there ever worse. Let’s call them the herd thinkers.
Wait! Didn’t I identify as one of the slogan thinkers’ characteristics that they wanted to fit in? Yeah, but the slogan thinkers tend to hold onto a magical set of words buckle and tongue, and are sometimes quaintly out of touch with the current cant. Meanwhile, the herd thinkers will change on a dime and say they always thought this way. They are the original “We were always at war with Eurasia” and they don’t even need the government to dictate it. They do it to themselves, to fit in.
This allowed them to pivot from the seventies “pollution is going to make us all freeze” to the eighties/nineties “pollution is going to make us all burn” and now to “pollution is going to make some people burn and some people freeze” while the scientific evidence remained scant and not very conclusive. But the herd moved and mooed in unison.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the SFWA “storm in a b cup” though what it’s displaying is the multiple pivots of feminism itself. First, women were supposed to go into the working world, take it by storm and be tough grrrrls with nothing to fear. They wanted all the rights of men and no quarter. And they got them. Good and hard.
Except men were used to treating women in business in a certain way. It might not have been as bad as television portrays it, but I read Rex Stout. Treating women in business as sweet young thangs or old scary dragoons was normal, both because that’s sort of how women fit into male hierarchy (They should argue with evolution) and because most women worked until they got married, which means most were sweet young things, and might have been open to wooing.
Was it terrible? Well, I wouldn’t have liked to put up with it while trying to get work done, though I’ll point out that in every official interaction with men, letting old eve look through my eyes and smile at the old Adam in them gets things expedited wonderfully. It’s not dangerous if you know where to draw the line.
Guilty? Not a bit. I am a woman. I’ll use that as well as my brain to get what I want. By which I don’t mean I’ll whore for the desired results. I love my husband and I’m very monogamous… but flirt? Oh, please. Being two sexes and having the ability to interact along that tension line, and the endless possibilities of fun it provides are one of the reasons we know G-d loves us and wishes us to be happy. People who want to behave as though they were genderless should have been born amoebas. Sex is too good for the likes of them.
Unfortunately most American women – some Southern ladies excepted – have no clue how to draw the line, or even that they should. Sometimes they seem to have no idea they’re flirting. I’m not sure, since I came here at the time of second generation feminism, whether this was always so, or it’s a new thing. In other words, I don’t know if our daughters are for some reason born without some essential component that allows them to understand how genders interact, or if they’ve been despoiled by an environment that tells them it’s wrong to work with nature, and that they must be some sort of genderless super-robots.
I suspect the second, because again I read Nero Wolfe, and early Heinlein, and… other stuff written at that time. American women then seemed as capable as any of knowing what to permit and what was a step too far; when a man was being agreeably complimentary and when he’d crossed that line.
Perhaps early feminists believed they could, by virtue of words on paper, redraw the old, old battle line that has been going on since before we were even humans.
Perhaps their daughters believed the words on paper and didn’t even know there WAS a battle line.
I can’t tell. What I can tell is that the young ones have sold their birthright for a pot of message, and are wandering around like blind people, not only unaware of how men will react – INSTINCTIVELY – to certain signals, but also of how they, themselves, instinctively and without thought react to signals and/or what signals can be sent back. (This is less of an issue with us, Odds, because, well… we don’t ever get signals very well and tend to process everything in word-thoughts. Only… Only even our word thoughts get confused by the mooing of the herd.)
In this funny, funny world, women can dress as provocatively as they want to, because they’re empowered and they’re grrrrrls. But it is evil of men and “lookism” to comment that one of them is beautiful as Resnick and Malzberg did.
Women can have as much sex as they want to – and often when they don’t want to — because they’re just as empowered as men (forget that sex serves different evolutionary functions for male and female) but don’t you dare call them sluts. But then, they have slut walks, in which they call themselves sluts.
And all of these coexist because they’re different slogans, mooed by the leaders of the herd, and repeated by a portion of it but not yet picked up by all. (Oh, yeah, watch the shrieks of outrage that I’m calling them cows, in three, two, one. I’d like to register for posterity, before the screaming starts that some of the worst mooers are steers. Also, I’m not using the metaphor to be offensive, but because it’s the one that best fits observed behavior.)
I got very – as opposed to a bit – worried in the eighties when women started claiming that men talking them into sex was “rape.” The reasoning seemed to be that men had awesome talking skills and a mere woman could not defend herself against all those double-slick words.
I thought “OMG, they’re going Victorian.”
Since then we’ve gone to lookism (the ugly girl’s attempt to take attention from the pretty one) and to a man even looking at a woman too long, or asking for a date being considered “harassment.”
In fact, any man NOTICING another person is female is now harassment (witness the offense at “ladies” in Barry and Mike’s article.)
I feel for Barry and Mike. I’m sure they were full supporters of the initial feminism which only wanted to give women access but assumed that evolution was not going to be reversed in a generation, and if women wanted to work alongside men, they’d have to endure men being… male. And if they used a little of female wiles to get what they wanted… well, that’s how humans are and they go two by two. This was a somewhat rational idea, and if it had stopped there…
Their articles were salutes of the women who made it in (at that time) a very hostile male environment.
Barry and Mike had no idea that the herd had changed step and that the mooing signals from the top had changed. Cattle are very stupid animals. They identify their herd by a series of not very rational signals. Fall out of step, and you risk being mistaken for an intruder and gored. And people who didn’t realize there was herd behavior going on, and who got to their positions by rational thought, are more than likely to get that treatment. I know, it’s happened to me.
And meanwhile the herd of tough grrrl Victorian maidens, “don’t call me slut” but “I’ll sleep with guys I’m not even interested in, and I’ll call myself slut,” “asking me on a date is sexism” and “I can’t understand where all the good men have gone”, “we’re just as good as men”, “it’s rape if a man talks a woman into sex because men have awesome men neurons we can’t compete with” goes on its merry way changing directions as the leaders change rationals and demanding more government intervention to handicap men more, because otherwise, how can they compete with wonderful male superpowers? They who are fragile flowers who get peristaltic disturbances because someone mentions most top scientists aren’t female?
Never mind that we all know where a herd ends up being led.
Moo like this!
NOTE TO SUBSCRIBERS: I did not put an update up last week, because our entire household was passing around “what is going around” and what it did to me was make me sleep a lot. Since Dan slept, he recovered faster, but I have issues just lying there (I bore easily) so it took me till yesterday to fully shake the thing. Now I must finish stories (one of them at least for sure for Baen. I might have blown the deadline on the other two) and since these are under contract, I can’t share them. I MIGHT do an update later today, but it won’t have free stuff. Sorry. I’ll get back to it by Friday.