Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Super Macho Men



I'm really sick of these jock-sniffing fuckwits in wingnuttia who keep mouthing off, German-like, about manly man-ness, masculinity, ramrod strength and so on.

For one thing, it's so damn gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but, you know, wingnuts usually do have a problem with gay people. So I'm getting mixed messages. It's so confusing when manly men like Colin Powell dress like a Village Person.

Remember, wingnuts, it takes a village, not the Village People. Must you be so butch?

Oh, it's not just through fashion that they are so en fuego. And at least Colin Powell had some physical courage at one time. From Richard Nixon's jock-wannabe schtick to Ronald Reagan's screentime pseudo-soldiering, from the roundmouthing blowjob Max Boot has made a career of bestowing upon the bloodiest sort of imperialism to Dear Leader's very own Top Gun moment, wingnuttia has long had the habit that perennial towel-boys, certain kinds of wimpy or bovine sports fans, and delta-male/army-reject specimens such as author Tom Clancy can appreciate: the combination of the urge for reflected glory and a certain sort of penis envy. Combined with innate cowardice, this is a hell of a psychological cocktail.

Thus, chickenhawkery and chickenshittery -- and the worship, with teutonic undertones, of the physical strength of others whom they control or hope to control. And not just control physically or politically (in the conventional sense), but control through propagandic history.

Therefore the figure of Theodore Roosevelt has become as totemic to rightwingers as that of Alexander Hamilton. But where the latter flatters their anti-democracy sentiment, the former serves an altogether other purpose: historical testosterone. True, there are similarities between them; both were physically courageous in a way that a fat pussy (see, the style is infectious) like Jonah Goldberg could only dream of; both were the most insufferable sort of snobs, the sort of top-down class warriors that the fans of plutocracy in wingnuttia truly admire. But TR is the poster-child for mindless, reckless action on the hugest scale where Hamilton's butch recklessness only managed to get himself, not others, killed.

Not so mindless, says middlebrow wingnut Harvey Mansfield. But, yes, mindless, Perfessor. TR had tons of purpose, I grant, in his silly Nietzschean Will To Power way. But then so do most monsters, and in some very important ways, TR was just that. TR was also a charicature as well as a character, or as we say around these parts, a real card. Busyness is not a virtue, especially for a thorough bigot (even considering the times) like TR.

(Incidentally, what is with the wingnut worship of not just manly men, but those characters in general, apparently more common than one would suppose, who are at once sinister and ludicrous? TR was the type of super macho man who would not only joust with windmills and lead and cheerlead genocide in the Phillipines, but also of the type that would offer to arm wrestle a toddler for a piece of candy [TR was a bit of a fatfuck in middle age]. And, of course, we live in the shadow of the ludicrous and sinister George Bush, language-mangler and public cretin who is nonetheless the most powerful man on earth, and who is Dear Leader to them.)

But it is too a virtue, argues the Perfessor. He also roundly if inadvertently slags Charles Darwin and William James by claiming it was their influence that helped TR become a global and domestic menace. Actually, if TR "lived" a philosophy, it was that of a little ersatz Nietzcheanism and a lot of the absolute worst of Herbert Spenser's.

Actually, the Perfessor admits that James disliked TR (he doesn't mention that so too did the other James, Henry, and for good reason), but insists that TR absorbed and lived Jamesian pragmatism, the "toughmindedness" tenet of which the Perfessor finds synonymous with masculinity. Bzzzt. Sorry. TR was a moral coward, as he demonstrated when he made common cause with the corrupt wing of the Republican party so that his early reformist actions would not be held against him by the elite which he more or less served for the rest of his career. James's tough-mindedness, which it may be superfluous to say but say it I will anyway, is nastily sexist when Mansfield makes it synonymous with masculinity, better applies to someone like James's friend and admirer John Jay Chapman who actually displayed physical and moral courage thoughout his life.

Manliness is also, according to the sage Perfessor's TR, equivalent to the Protestant Work Ethic. I get it, Perfessor: femininity = sloth = lack of purpose = shirking of duty.

Mansfield also equates masculinity with empiricism, with what we call in our circles the reality-based approach. Is the Perfessor implying that wingnuts, then, are girlymen? Of course not! It's only the feminine homo-fagfag liberals who are, after all, so fanciful, so dreamy, so impractical, so lazy, so weak-minded.

Whatever.

There are things to admire in TR, though. For one, he's probably the only person in the world who ever shook his fist in J. P. Morgan's face and was not killed by hired goons or swatted with the arch-plutocrat's cudgel. For another, one must feel sympathy for a person whose spouse and mother both died within hours of each other.

But do me a favor, reader. Read the butch Perfessor's essay while doing your best, I trust, to ignore his buttless chaps. Then read this character sketch of TR by a real historian. Whom do you believe?

No doubt about it, aside the ugly, obvious mass psychology of it all, wingnut love of TR is based on one pressing current need, a pragmatic one for them: the war. TR was the most extraordinary warmonger the United States has ever produced, a true war lover whose image is naturally irresistable to so many armchair cowards who also love the idea of war, but unlike TR (and to give him his due) aren't so keen on fighting themselves. TR's smooth and smug analogies used to justify the massacre of Filipinos (General Aguinaldo was compared to Sitting Bull), his oozing jingoism, his certitude in the righteousness of any American aim, his condescending attitude to small countries, his utter bigotry to other cultures, peoples and races: these are all traits that wingnuts can admire and can use. And they do. But TR was so overblown, such a windbag and so plainly a lover of blood and guts that they must be careful and "intellectualise" it, as per Prof. Mansfield's essay.

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