Words like “transference” do not typically grow in my author’s garden. “Postponement” is a little more characteristic of literary haunts, and seems to me (in my amateur’s carelessness) to point to a very similar psychological phenomenon. That women in Western societies have delayed or suppressed a lot of rage at the male sex is smack-in-the-face obvious to me. Today I will try to extend my case to the idea of how that rage, broken loose at last, might transfer itself to a particular target (the original source of outrage having vanished, quite often, into murky decades).
First, to recap: I accept that many women today have been abused and violated by men in the past. It’s grossly unfair to accuse all of us men of such behavior… but we who minded our manners were not “players” in the Seventies and Eighties, only mute bystanders. Indeed, academic feminism, which I hold ultimately most responsible for the contemporary woman’s plight, began in the assumption that “men get to play around”. I recall that notion from fifty years ago—I recall such blather flying from the mouth of a high school English teacher; and I further recall muttering to myself in futile protest, “Men in my family don’t play around.”
That was the point of departure: take the most reprehensible behavior of the most undisciplined males… and make it the standard which, in simple fairness, should also apply to females. Once women began stooping to pass beneath a steeply lowered bar, men either followed their lead or… well, to repeat, some of us were left spectating from the game’s sidelines in gaping disbelief.
I didn’t write this last time, but I should say it now in so many words. Today’s women don’t live up to men’s expectations: those times are branded “the patriarchy” and consigned to the Dark Ages. Instead, men adapt themselves to women’s expectations in modern Western society—and the vector of those expectations was decidedly downward in 1980.
A second quick addendum: women are far less apt than men, in my experience, to be shamed by the example of an upright individual and to alter their habits accordingly. Instead, they are likely to savage the “good girl” mercilessly until they drag her into the mud wrestling. The female ego is stunningly fragile in that regard: it will sooner transform the whole world into a gallery of the macabre than recognize that it has allowed itself to be disfigured and corrupted. (In that respect, women are natural progressives: they prefer blundering forward with back firmly turned on a dubious past to brooding over errors in a confessional, corrective frame of mind.) No doubt, we men bear some of the blame for this. To become “unpleasant” or to acquire “soiling” experiences is practically a death sentence in the female mind, whereas to a male it can be viewed as the Prodigal Son’s constructive adventure to the bottom.
Imagine, then (and here I pivot to this day’s subject), a woman whose head was filled from early adolescence with the “virtues” of freedom and self-assertion as expressed by giving her body casually to a different male every month, or every weekend… or every day or hour. (There’s a satanic progression in such conditioning, just as may be observed when the gang recruit’s initiatory shooting graduates to cold-blooded mass-executions.) Imagine, for instance, someone like singer/actress Alyssa Milano: endowed (cursed?) with an angelic face, swallowed up before the age of consent into the most malodorous cesspool of moral degeneracy in American life (the entertainment industry), submitted to more kinds of assault and seduction than were ever seen by patrons of a Tiberian bath house, and finally spewed out with fading looks upon a pile of money with a mic and camera never far away. At whom would such a person flail, now that she may safely throw a punch or two? The agents and producers on whose couches she first auditioned have long, long ago drifted far, far out to sea (where, as this male hopes, the fishes gnaw their rotten bones). The soirées where memory has “redacted” all the details with the thick black stylus of booze and drugs are not likely to yield back their secrets… unless under hypnosis or “therapy”. In any case, much of life remains to be lived, even though the leading roles for “hot, sexy” young things are no longer forthcoming. Is it wise to accuse Pilate of the Crucifixion at this point instead of a palace guard?
If I single out Ms. Milano, it’s because a) her voice in these matters is among the most persistent, audible, and imbecilic; and b) because I cannot quite shake myself of utter infatuation with her lovely face (male pig that I am: it’s infuriating sometimes, ladies, to be subjugated to the hard-wired male adoration of beauty). Yet I should append here a bit of wisdom imparted by the roommate to whose nuggets I was briefly privy at the College of Willian and Mary: plain girls are easier prey, because they’re grateful for any attention they receive. As the irrepressibly randy old Ben Franklin put it, all cats are gray in the dark.
A man needn’t be so naive as to suppose, therefore, that beautiful women were most tarnished by the sexual revolution’s debacle. It may very well have been Plain Jane, rather, who had the widest experience of one-night stands in her bid to be pleasing and “hip”. O vocal chorus of outraged women, address your wails to people like my roommate (who was on probation for drug-dealing, and from whose company I soon parted) for some of those raw mornings on the trash heap—but devote a strophe to Gloria Steinem, as well: louder, longer round of outraged wails.
According to the hair-rending logic of shrieking choruses… who pays? Now that #MeToo has attracted a supportive mass of victims from the backstreets, whose neck gets fitted for a noose? Every man a girl has ever dated? But you can’t hang them all, much as you’d like to. Who most deserves to be hanged… who, symbolically, is the most compelling villain?
Why, Dad, of course! You know: the Man Who Wasn’t There, just when you needed him—the guy who was busy making tubs of money to send you to the very best schools. During your high school years, you could coax a smile from his weary face (on rare occasions when you saw him) by bringing home A’s from Saint Tiffany’s Academy… and you secured an A in English by writing about how women should be allowed to sleep around just as men have always done. (Did Dad really do that? You knew he didn’t… he just wouldn’t.) Then it was off to Rutgers or Purdue; and Daddy Dearest certainly couldn’t have disapproved of keg parties and weekend hook-ups, because he was oh-so-proud of you for getting accepting into one of the nation’s premier ivory towers. (So maybe… maybe the other stuff really was part of his secret life.) How were you supposed to figure out, at eighteen, that physically walking these ivy-draped corridors was a high honor, but that listening to the subversive, nihilistic rigmarole echoing through them was a plunge into the abyss?
Why didn’t Daddy explain all this to you, if he approved but disapproved? It needed sorting out. Why did he turn his back on you, once more and at the most critical moment?
Yes, Dad should pay… but he’s your father, and you love him (between and behind the times when you hate him). Daddy should hang for letting you be taken out with the trash… but not precisely Daddy. Somebody like him. Some very prominent spokesman for his “values”: for God, country, family, free enterprise… for rationality, objectivity, order… for the System. The System that let boys treat you like a toiletry before flushing you away. All rise for the Pledge!
Who gets croaked for all that? Why, Brett Kananaugh, of course.
To the Alyssa Milanos of this world, and to their Plain Jane sisters, I believe there is a weirdly logical cogency in the “I believe her” professions. Yes, he did it! The wrapped-in-flag Mr. Clean who made straight A’s as you were supposed to do and drew the priest’s benediction that was supposed to be yours—all the while enjoying his beer-guzzling games with rowdy mates and being Man About Campus though saving himself for his future bride… what nauseating hypocrisy! The sham of it all! The lie of it all! Oh, yes, the specifics—the details! They make it look as though the truth is on his side and the lies on yours. You always get snared in details, because that’s how the game’s creators set it up. So Justice Kavanaugh gets off on a technicality? Not on your life!
He’s worse than the boy who wouldn’t stop when you said “no”, the young man whose panting face on top of you doesn’t quite crystallize from the fraternity house’s drunken mob, the boss who showed up in your apartment to go over tomorrow’s presentation and wouldn’t leave… he’s the man who facilitated it all. The pimp. The hypocrite who nods, smiles, collects his fee, and shuts the door on you. He needs to hang till his face turns black and puffy.
I can understand all that. It’s wrong-headed thinking. It’s miserably misguided: the degree of transfer is pitiful, surely pathological. And yet… and yet, is such a transfer of fury entirely irrational? The lunacy must stop—but the hypocrisy which drives weaker characters to lunacy must stop, as well.
We should no longer surrender our daughters for sacrifice, like Aztec maidens about to have their hearts cut out, to polluted “institutions of higher learning”—and we should no longer patronize an industry that degrades them for our amusement. Both of these cultural burn barrels are radioactive with hatred of the American mainstream… and the American mainstream, in retaliation, continues to channel its impressionable youth straight into their furnaces. Why is that?