Arche Comix

I just encountered another of those places where women are safe from patriarchal enstiflement, due to the diligent oversight of a heavy-handed matriarch. Once again, a matriarch slaps down a petulant little boy and reminds him that he is not “entitled” to anything, least of all pudding when he has not finished his meat.

Perhaps I sound naive, but I simply never heard of this kind of silencing in twenty years of reading feminist and post-feminist philosophy. After I started reading Vox, he would occasionally allude to it, but I thought he was referring to dimly lit back rooms full of cigar-smoking female ex-communists. Then Steve B. suggested that it was pretty much standard operating procedure on liberal blogs and webforums, so I wandered around looking for interesting liberal blogs. So far, it seems to be true in most cases.

Of course, I haven’t done a similar survey of conservative blogs. Conservative blogs seem more boring to me in general, due to their frankly submissive posture toward the federal government. Some people may be old enough to remember that it wasn’t that way in previous centuries.

During the Bane-is-a-loser/Bane-is-a-god debates, the somewhat conservative Bane was found to be guilty of deleting embarrassing comments. Vox departed from his position on virtual property rights (“they don’t exist”) to assert the principle of virtual squatting rights: If you occupy a web domain, it is truly your sovereign territory. If you have the technical ability to moderate, edit, or delete comments, well then, the virtual alien is at your mercy. Another perspective might be that on the Internet, the right to free speech is a virtual right, since one’s speech must occupy a virtual space that is under someone else’s control.

I have concluded that it is not accurate to attribute this form of censorship exclusively to liberal blogs. I think it is a function of the two primary motivations for noncommercial web publishing: ego and public service.

Those who publish from egoism are very touchy about their personal space, and they express this in different degrees depending on their personal neuroses. In these cases, the troll is symbolic of a personal demon that always seems to show up whenever you let yourself go. The egoist wants to throw rocks at anyone gaping in his cage, but only so long as the voyeur doesn’t throw any rocks back.

Those who publish from altruism are very touchy about their stewardship of public space, so they are preoccupied with maintaining order and propriety. This altruism is generally limited to whatever group the webmaster/blogger considers worthy. The troll is symbolic of the social demon that always seems to show up whenever the community starts feeling cohesive, warm, and fuzzy. The altruist just wants to keep everyone in their respective cages.

Despite my objective analysis, I still think the matriarchs are the most interesting. I always like to identify where purported adversaries are in complete agreement, because at that point I can clearly discern why I would not vote for either. With the matriarchs we see that hierarchy, domination, and territoriality are not embedded in the male anatomy, nor are they the arbitrary constructs of cynical businessmen, warmongers, and priests. They are uniquely and inescapably human extensions; and it is doubtless the ancient patriarch’s desire to maintain an aura of kittenish moral deniability around his female subjects that led him to imagine that women could be kept innocent of these sins. The matriarch, however, sees more clearly, and resents the sentimentality of the patriarch and the blind arrogance of his sons.

In case you thought the term “Nietzschean feminism” was purely facetious, here are a couple of relevant links:

How are the interests of women to be vindicated? As DeLue explores this question, it becomes evident that there is no such thing as a unitary form of feminism. Feminists speak, rather, in a variety of different voices. They therefore formulate widely differing assessments of civil society. Some (Okin) see the possibility of a gender neutral civil society. Others, such as Katharine MacKinnon, invoke the need to censor sexism – in particular, pornography. Others (Harstock) formulate a Marxist conception of feminism. Still other others (Paglia) advocate a Nietzschean feminism. The debates within the feminist camp are intense. What kind of feminism is most closely aligned with women’s interests? (Richard W. Coughlin)

Oh, sorry, Profacero. You don’t consider Paglia to be a feminist, right? Oh well, so much for inclusivity. Now, here’s a book for all budding matriarchs: The New Woman and the Empire, by Iveta Jusová.


13 thoughts on “Arche Comix

  1. So Dave, which category do you fall under, ego or altruism?

    My basic rule is to treat everyone the same. That’s why I don’t have any comments. Not that anyone would really want to comment. And I hate profanity. Other than that, I wouldn’t really care what people said as long as it wasn’t perverted. Is that part of the altruism part? Responsibly controlling one’s space.

    I ponder those who get a following, especially the control freaks. Big bluster can get a person a following lots of times. But I would never want a following of people I could manipulate. Or who were willing to be my chosen group of people, people who would be willing to play by all my rules. If there’s no fight going on, it’s no fun, although machinegun commenters can get pretty obnoxious.

  2. I am obviously an egoist, although any egoist will eventually conclude that he is doing the world an altruistic favor by letting them read his thoughts.

    I’m all in favor of deleting spam and profanity. What I find interesting are the proletariat-hugging, anti-establishment, anti-patriarchy, revolutionary, free-love, liberated, inclusive, tolerant, multicultural radicals who get mad if you correct them or mock them in a gentle, non-profane manner.

    This is the soul of a militant idealism that cannot reconcile itself to the natural world: When any contrary will shows its face, it must be blotted out before the infant starts to cry uncontrollably.

  3. I am an egoist, but neither you nor I are egoists in the way the true egoists are – someone else gave these terms, you didn’t hear them from me, Attention | Lab, Fetch Me My Attention, and Attention, Ph.D.
    Or, on second thought, maybe there needs to be another category: narcissistic bloggers. Some nice (as in, blogging to meditate), some not (as in, blogging to wreak havoc).

    Paglia, yes, although I haven’t read her more recent stuff. I decided a while a go that she was a mouthpiece of the patriarchy, and stopped paying much attention.

    I think there are times when inclusivity is good (like for public policy), but think of the implications for one’s research, or personal life for that matter, if one were all inclusive, all the time!


  4. It looks like “Attention | Lab, Fetch Me My Attention, and Attention, Ph.D.” was some kind of link, which Blogger lost.

    I would say it is narcissistic to consider oneself the appointed spokesperson of a movement, and therefore entitled to altruistically prune off the vestigial parts, as many politically minded bloggers do. And so narcissism may look like altruism.

  5. I’ve decided that blogging is a cross between many things, one of them being a performance.

    In a performance, the performer feeds off the energy of the crowd, the attention is on the performer, and there’s no performance if there are no spectators. So, ego is a natural part and not necessarily unhealthy part of blogging. The unhealthy part comes when the performer starts to let things go to his or her head in a bad way.

  6. I was trying to be discreet and not link – so that I don’t start some kind of flame war. I haven’t figured them out. Attention|Lab, for instance, was a very theoretical feminist but now seems have come out as a gay man. I think. People think s/he is very very smart but I have to read enough theoretical research for work already. Fetch Me My Attention is a fat white lesbian feminist in New York. She is very chatty. Both of these blogs are, loosely speaking, postmodern, I would say.

    Attention, Ph.D., I’ll reveal because it’s just too obvious: Bitch Ph.D. She is a liberal feminist professor, now on sabbatical, who believes in blogging the personal. I mean the very personal. This gives her blog soap opera value and a huge number of hits, and she has ads, so she makes money. I appreciate some of what she has to say, and she is funny, but ultimately it all gets a bit too-too, in my opinion.

    Blogging as performance, oh yes, this is key.

    Narcissism masquerading as altruism
    – maybe sometimes, although some of these big blogs, that get huge amounts of comments (published) and who knows how many that aren’t, just *have* to have a really tight comments policy or else there will just be a brawl.

    Remember e-mail lists? I’m on one that had a brawl, over whether the organization of which it is a subset should spend $1000 in one way, or in another. It got ugly, with accusations of racism, and slurs slung on nationalities. I just hit the delete button, but it was such a pain that a lot of people left the list, and now it is not a viable communication tool for the organization. That is why the moderator should have moderated – heavily.

  7. Flame war? C’mon, Prof Zero. Nobody on this side is worried about no flame war.

    Tell her, Dave, you would more than welcome some flaming, because visits from foe can sometimes produce more ego stroking than visits from friend, especially if the flamer is not some no-name flamer.

    And that brings ups Dave’s comments about trolls. I think trolls don’t show up much unless there’s some decent commenter action. The desire for an ego stroke is not limited to just the blogger; commenters have ego needs too. And if a person doesn’t have the time, or energy, or whatever to get enough of a blog following to get some ego stroking, then all they have to do is find some place where there’s some action and put their two cents in.

    It’s like groups of people going to a to a concert or a party. You got your big rock star on the stage, and then you got all the groups of people where the members of each group are posturing and performing for each other in their own little group.

  8. The door is open, Laurelin.

    ZK is right about the need for confrontation. It is inherent in anyone who enters the medium in the first place. The question becomes, is it constructive (e.g., didactic) or just expressive?

    I grew up with someone who wanted to express his frustrated anger at his parents by regularly attacking me. I chose to use purely defensive maneuvers that resulted in nonlethal holds, then I would calmly instruct him in the name and execution of the maneuver. He never outmatched me in knowledge, but eventually he outweighed me, and thereafter I would immediately withdraw from his provocations. If one of us is not learning something, an adversarial relationship is pointless.

    Profacero, I suppose if you had linked I would have followed, and if the other blogger was interesting I might have commented. A flame war, as such, is not that interesting, however. I used to subscribe to a professional list that split off a new list for off-topic discussions, and then that one split off additional lists for more intense arguments.

    That compartmentalization effectively saved the original group, although of course it marginalized the provocateurs; and it is not unlike the current situation in blogdom. Anyone who is shut out of one place is free to start their own small enterprise, in a postmodern fulfillment of Jeffersonian democracy.

  9. Yea, I guess you have to watch out, or you just become a rebel without a cause, fighting just to fight.

    I think the dynamics of a blog are different from a news group or mailing list. A personal blog, by default, has a leader, and anyone who comments at a blog is subjugating themselves to the blog owner, unless they have many others with them crashing the party. I think this may help prevent some people from being inflammatory as much as they would like.

  10. And your point is related to a point I’ve tried to make, that men and women, although they have a few fundamental differences, are by and large fundamentally the same.

    Abortion and how some women deal with it shows that women can be as ruthlessly brutal and evil as men.

  11. “A flame war, as such, is not that interesting, however.”

    What I do not want is for those people to come and flame me – hence the no linking.

  12. I understand. I tend to think of links as something peripheral, like footnotes. Wiser people say that links are fundamental, “the basic currency of the web.”

Instigate some pointless rambling

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