The Implicit Nature of Truth and Ugly Shirley Jackson

“Conceal your intentions”- Law 3, The 48 Laws of Power

The summer between high school and college presents a beautiful, uniquely modern, netherworld- the intersection of hope and accomplishment. A short pause between childhood and everything else, like the blank space between comic book panels, where reflection meets expectation.

I had a conversation with friend at the time about our idea of what college would be like. We had both felt severely burned by our Catholic high school education- that the limitations of Catholic doctrine had somehow obscured Truth. The Truth, we had both agreed, was the ultimate end-game of any education; the absolute highest priority.

And not that we were necessarily wrong on either account, however this belief in “Truth as God” without the components of wisdom and social acuity will only lead to misery and self-destruction.

This is where, if this were a perfect story, future-me would appear in the back lot of Donny’s Adventure Kingdom- behind the pirate ship- and tell past-me how Truth must be tempered with rhetoric. People aren’t looking for Truth; people are looking for identity.

And the clove cigarettes have got to go too, for fuck’s sake.

But, I had to learn the hard way.

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The Human Animal and “Of Mice and Men” (1937)

“You give me a good whore house every time. A guy can go in an’ get drunk and get ever’thing outa his system all at once, an’ no messes”- George Milton, Of Mice and Men

Compared to male sexuality, female sexuality is surprisingly linear. While it’s true that men enjoy the typical signs of youthful fertility- large breasts, curvaceous hips, clear skin- a man’s attraction to a woman must be tempered by a sense of realistic accessibility. “The girl next door” archetype is sexy because she isn’t intimidating; she’s unaware of how sexy she truly is and this makes her accessible.

Female sexuality is more linear because women don’t feel indebted to accessibility as a component of attraction; for a woman, this would be like going to a movie and wondering, “do I deserve to be here watching this movie?” Since women don’t have this concern, a woman can feel entirely unencumbered with whom she’s most attracted to- which inevitably is the highest-quality male in any scenario.

However, defining highest quality male isn’t always what it seems.

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Everything as Sexual Strategy and Ugly Harper Lee

Sexual strategy is like that scene at the end of Wargames where Joshua the computer tries to launch nuclear weapons and start World War 3; the computer cycles-through launch codes quickly while keeping the bits of code that are a positive match. Most people unconsciously allow their brain to do this work, matching behaviors with their positive outcomes, and bookmarking those behaviors while discarding the ineffective.

The conversation almost always goes like this when you tell someone that everything a person does stems from a foundation of sexual strategy: they listen patiently, provide the socially customary nods of understanding, and then say something like, “well, okay, but not everything…”

This certainly seems like it could be the case; it almost feels reductionist on some level to think that men and women are constantly being guided through their choices and actions by some invisible force emanating from their genitalia, silently screaming at them to just get it the fuck in like a pack of dogs in heat.  That there must be a special designation, or a degree of intellectual sophistication , which separates the human animal from his more primitive underlings.

And this is certainly true; the human animal is civilized. We are conscious of a wider-span of potential emotions, and are gifted with the ability to fulfill more significant goals than simply eating and fucking. We can shape our consciousness with language, and vocabulary, and with language comes access to higher level thinking.

It’s a lot like when you were a kid in kindergarten, at the beginning of the school year, with all your little school supplies. You mom could have gotten you the boring eight pack of Crayolas, but you wanted the big box of sixty-four; you know, the kind that comes with the crayon sharpener. So instead of just “red” and “blue,” you had a whole variety of different shades of the same color to pick from, and lucky you, right?

No, stupid, they’re all still crayons.

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“The (Almost) Perfect Guide to Imperfect Boys” and Indoctrination to the Culture of Categorization for Middle School Girls

When I wrote my very first blog post on the “unequal nature of equality,” I highlighted the significantly different ways in which men and women view each other stemming from how the message of equality is quite differently taught to boys and girls.

Men are biologically wired to treat women with kindness, and while there are exceptions, it certainly wasn’t difficult to indoctrinate men into a culture where they understood women as true-to-the-word equals: potentially friends, intellectual peers, worthy of their own opinions and voice with a valid world view based on their individual life experiences.

And men are taught, by every facet of modern life- government, academia, and the media- that both sexes possess the same equitable understanding of inter-gender dynamics; in fact, a man thinking any other way would be accused of misogyny.

The underlying narrative that governs the teaching of equality is anything but equal; boys are taught that they are somewhat responsible for a girl’s success and comfort, even when it is to their detriment, and girls are taught that their success and comfort should always be primary even when it is to the detriment of a boy (or, really, anyone else).

From an evolutionary perspective this is business as usual as men are disposable and women are valuable; a man’s value is derived from what he is able to contribute. This would be fine, as this is in line with Human Nature, but that is not what we teach boys and young men.

Boys are taught that men and women are quite literally the same in every way except for a minor difference in genitalia. And, historically, when all the naughty men were off building our civilization they were also systematically oppressing all of the victimized women; according to Feminist theory, this historic oppression has trickled down to a modern landscape where boys hold an invisible backpack of privilege and girl’s fight against a perpetual tide of oppression at every turn.

This creates a climate where boys understand the concept of being a Good Man as putting women first in all regards, and girls who feel entitled to the success of the most successful man. At maturation, this foundation breeds a generation of polite men, able see the humanity in women, who end up baffled by the disgust they engender by showing weakness, and women who openly reduce and objectify men.

From a biological perspective, it is necessary for a woman to be able to efficiently categorize potential mates and suitors.  For the sake of simplicity in mate selection, women are able to sort all men into one of three categories (although, they can admittedly be somewhat nuanced: 1) The Alpha Male, 2) The Beta Male, and 3) The Omega male.  

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“The Lady’s Dressing Room” (1732) and the Nature of Sympathetic Love

Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!

I had first encountered Swift’s cutting poemThe Lady’s Dressing Room as an undergraduate English major in a class being taught by an adjunct who wasn’t much older than me at the time. There is no way to know why he included this piece as part of his curriculum for the class, but after reading it aloud he ranted about its “vile misogynistic nature.”

Truth be told, I scratched my head, raising my hand in earnest to ask, “maybe this is more about showing that women are just as human as men, and maybe it was written for men who put women on a pedestal?”

The geek professor balked at my dissent and quickly moved on.

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