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.