domenica, luglio 30, 2006

Ballooned comment

Yesterday, Sugarplum wrote an interesting account of what happened when her man's friends found their lead-up-to-wedding blog. Read it yourself. I found it extra interesting as I had a conversation recently about how the things that were once the mark of a gentleman had become gay (good dancing, good manners, good grooming, good conversationalism, et al). The guy I was talking to blamed feminism because of the independence and sexual liberation it entailed, by which I suppose he meant men didn't have to try so hard to make us naked anymore. I don't buy that, of course. In part because of the formerly greater economic prominence of prostitution and in another part because it suggests men are naturally lousy dancers, boorish and shitty conversationalists, and I love them too much to believe that.

But an explanation there must be, and where feminism falters Marxism hollers. The reason what used to be gentlemanly is now gay to the degree that Sugar's fiancé is getting shit for appearing in a wedding blog (and yes, Sugarplum is an actual woman) is because of one of the elements of Western capitalistss reaction to the spectre of revolution.

This is the ubiquitous pop culture celebration of the Working Class Hero; filling up our media with images of hard, strong, manly troglodytes of stereotypes of the blue collar man. This celebration goes hand-in-hand with the presentation of the middle and upper classes as a bunch of fags that you shouldn't emulate or envy or, uhm, have a revolution over. The beginning of this trend happily co-incided with the post-Enlightenment stage where educabourgeoiseous had stopped believing in Hell and started coming out of the closet if that's where they happened to be, but uneducated working-class people still more or less believed what the preachermen told them. A couple of high-profile buggery lawsuits, and bingo! It worked so well that now even the richest young men in America cultivate the most apely possible behaviour in public.

It also reminds me of how bullshit like Naomi Klein and culture-jamming gets mixed up with socialism now. Gosh, I can't stand Naomi Klein.

Of course there were many other important elements to this Western capitalist response; humans might be dumb motherfuckers but they're not THAT stupid. And of course the most important one was the non-forced introduction of artificial controls over class and income disparities, like minimum wages, pensions, notice periods, paid vacations, and other physically unnescessary laws touching on working conditions.

Some societies went further in one direction than another. In France and Italy, where there were lots more practical concessions to the real needs of the working class than there were here, having good manners, grooming, and conversation skills won't make you look gay (although they're still lousy dancers), which was so confusing for me I had to sleep with tonnes of them before I could wrap my head around it. And while one can complain about the charmlessness of the Canadian male, our slightly superior social protections let our men, generally speaking, make American men, generally speaking, look like cavemen who couldn't charm their name out of the snow with a stick.

No other news fit to print today. I feel inhuman and bound to my apartment by the disaster Marvellon has wrought of my innards, but I'm going to a concert and an Indian veggie buffet later, just to show Big Pharma it's not the boss of me.

4 commenti:

Sugarplum ha detto...

I hear you but I don't think it's all social. I think a lot of it has to do with evolution. Women evolved to work well in groups, communicate and share. Men evolved in competition to each other and I think this explains their behaviour more than anything else.

I was surprised when I first learned some bits and pieces about how the male mind works. When they meet another guy, some of them try to assert their superiority over the other guy. They'll do this by squeezing when shaking hands or I don't know (these are things that have been explained to me and I have glimpsed but in no way do I understand nor can I hope to get an insider's view). Of course there are men who don't care about these things but every once and a while it surfaces. Maybe it's the type A personality but I think it is more primal than that. Some men still want to be the alpha male. And I am always surprised by who adheres to this. Look for it. You'll see. (Of course it helps when you have a guy telling you when someone does the handshake thing. I think it's the same guy who refuses to shake a girl's hand properly. You know, the girly dead fish or the turned up - "You're not about to kiss my hand!?!" handshake. We're so far out of the competition to be the alpha that we don't even get a normal shake.)

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

I think men have a higher instinctual urge to compete too, but what I think is unnatural is how that's showing itself in modern North American society. In other words I don't think that explains them calling each other fags when they act sensitive. It doesn't explain why some social groups of men can act sensitive without getting called fags. It doesn't explain why the image of an 'alpha male', in North America, is someone a self-respecting girl wouldn't fuck with a bargepole unless she thought she could 'change' him.

Sugarbitch, it is all MARKETING with us.

Jiri ha detto...

Ha, that's interesting. Originally the Marxists were the ones who were the champions of the uneducated worker who does his job right because that's how the society works and frowned upon any remains of middle-class society. This got me thinking that both systems - the communist one, and the current one in America - benefit from large mass of people who are trained not to challenge it.

One strange thing is that even during the most stupid years of communism in Czechoslovakia in the fifties people kept the nice manners of the society that was before. Of course, those were not the heroes of the day. Then again, things are not so bad in North America either. Right now the society there is being manouvered into something harsher and less forgiving than it was before, but people endure. America just needs a good kick in the ass to wake up from this madness.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

For sure, Jiri. To both paragraphs. I'd rather it didn't take a kick in the ass to wake them up, though. When a country gets kicked in the ass it always seems to lead to thousands of people being killed or incarcerated. It would be fun if their mommas and daddies just taught them right instead.