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Friday, June 09, 2006

DICK LIT



I never really read Opinionista. I've come across her site repeatedly, since she's linked from sites I do read (Waiter Rant, Club Life and Jason Mulgrew) but honestly, never found either her stories or her thoughts particularly provoking. The "Lawyers are Evil" angle is better done by Anonymous Lawyer or Wings&Vodka, which I don't have a convenient link to.

Recently, however, she wrote a columnette for the Huffington Post which she entitled Misogyny For Sale: The New "Frat-Lit" Trend.

I'd really hate to summarize the article, since it's such a fucking gem. But if you're really that lazy, basically, her point is that sites like Tucker Max and Maddox capitalize on anti-female sentiment - which she postulates is originating from men's helplessness in the face of being forced to accept women's march towards equality.

One point I feel needs to be independantly mocked is the idea Opinionista puts forth that authors may not intend for their writing to be taken seriously, but some people do, so that makes the writing evil. This is obviously fallacious, largely anecdotal, and is unimpacted throughout the article, with the exception of some quote Maddox gave that was from an e-mail he probably got from a 14 year old in Iowa.

Now, I hate blanket statements. I would never wish to characterize a number of thinking, breathing, diverse individuals as being lumpable into a sum that's less than its constituant parts. But, whatever, I fucking hate feminism. Every time I condemn a group, I'm told I'm "generalizing." I've heard a number of defenses of feminist theory that seems omewhat reasonable. So when I talk about 'feminism' here, I'm referring specifically to the brand of feminism that Opinionista seems to subscribe to - namely, ascribe malevolent intent to men as a group and presume a gender-based power struggle as the dominant context for any circumstance that requires any value judgement whatsoever to be placed upon an act that inheres in the expression of a single gender characeristic. So if a man suggests that a woman should not wear a suit, the normative context, according to this breed of feminist, would be that the reason she should not wear a suit is that she is being oppressed and now being allowed to wear the uniform men associate with business success. Or that my use of "breed" in the previous sentence likens women to dogs.

This article is why I hate it.

To view the success of sites like Maddox and Tucker Max and to conclude that the readers hate women is like looking at the success of Titanic, and to assume that women love drowning poor people.

You know what I talk about with my friends? We talk about girls. And we talk about getting fucked up, we talk about what we did when we went out the last weekend. We talk about the greatest comeback in beer pong history. We talk about a dude throwing a brick through his girlfriend's car. I think the problem that intellectuals tend to have is that they view too many things that are insignificant as important, because they don't understand them. Sometimes, it's interesting - sites like MetaPhilm and Free Darko are interesting because they use pop culture as a metaphor through which to view subjects like epistemology. In this case, though, she's not using Dwayne Wade as a metaphor for passionless persuit of greatness - she really believes what she's saying.

Opinionista is not part of the twenty-something (post)collegiate social culture. She's someone who went to law school and worked, albeit briefly, in a law firm. She has no idea what she's talking about, and so she's projecting her prefabricated context into an arena where it makes no sense. She's playing the role of anthropologist to a group she has insight into, and she's interpreting the entertainment of that culture without seeing its origin or seeing the role it in fact plays. In other words: she's a nerd trying to understand the jocks and coming up short.

Now, Tucker responded to her, and it's rumored that Maddox will be doing so sometime in the near future. I don't know what Maddox's thoughts are, but I think Tucker Max went the wrong way here. His response seems hastily written and defensive, which is understandable, since it is both a defense and was probably written in a short period of time. But his defense seems to be to claim that "Dick Lit" or "Fratire" is important since it represents the counterpoint to third-wave feminism, and exists as a way for men to explore masculinity in the same way Sylvia Plath allowed women to explore femininity.

This seems to miss the point. The point is that, in saying that these stories and websites are symptomatic of an antifeminist society, she's giving them way, way too much weight. Tucker has stories about pissing the bed. He has stories about throwing up on a girl after anal sex. Maddox has pages about thinking the vegetarian options at Chilis are stupid. Come the fuck on. It's meaningless. If you're finding anti-female messages here, you're putting it there yourself, since it is not intrinsic to the texts in any way/shape/form.

cranked out at 1:25 AM | |

 
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