Monday, 20 February 2012

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The Poulos Hoax? Far be it for me, a lowly adjunct so depressed by the market he let his MLA membership lapse, to criticize Michael Bérubé, the current President of the MLA, but his summary of James Poulos’ definition of what women are for fails to account for the fact that Poulos has forwarded a very serious, thoughtful, argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care. Thankfully for all involved, Poulos decided to respond to critics of his original post with wit and aplomb. Contrary to Bérubé’s claim that Poulos thinks “tennis football running cycling swimming flying floating riding gliding conating camogie skating tennis of all kinds dying flying sports of all sorts autumn summer winter winter tennis of all kinds hockey of all sorts penicillin,” all the founding editor of The Postmodern Conservative meant to say was that: Those who would restrict officially recognized marriages to one man and one woman are seen by many gay marriage advocates as using the power of the law to atavistically reverse the partly organic, partly hard-fought progress of civilization. Civilization, you see, is composed of one part “organic” and one part “hard-fought.” Those who support gay marriage want to use the “power of law” to reverse the “progress of civilization” by employing an atavism, which we all know refers to the reemergence of an ancestral trait in a modern species. This reemergence can be genetic—like when babies are born monkeys—or it can be social—like when Buck remembered that dogs are wolves and heeded the call of his wild. According to Poulos, the desire of the gays to revert to a state of nature by finding female bodies disturbing is a social manifestation of a genetic trend, because the gays are atavisms—throwbacks to the early human societies in which partly organic men fought hard against progress by refusing to procreate with women. How they survived has long stumped evolutionary theorists, what with success typically defined in terms of how many half-genes an individual loosed upon the EEA, but Poulos is right to claim that a column that points out that a society which rejects the premise of a question about sex, gender, and natural purposes might very well have achieved a great leap forward in the progress of human civilization. That he happened to be the author of this great leaping achievement is immaterial, because “philosophers from Plato to Rousseau to Heidegger” are famous people whose names he knows.
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Conservative women are more than just "hotties in tube tops." (But hopefully, they're that too.) Somehow I missed the fact that a group of C-List conservative bloggers turned on themselves over the issue of propriety at CPAC. At the same event in which this high-minded little event took place, it was reported that the female attendees “looked like two-bit whores.” That’s according to Dr. Melissa Clouthier, who feels the need to remind everyone she’s a doctor, presumably because her elevated diction might convince folks otherwise. Dr. Clouthier continues: I was at another service-oriented gathering of young women where the girls were in tight bandeau-skirts — you know, the kind of tube-top skirts that hookers wear on street corners. I’m fairly certain I know what she means here: conservative women shouldn’t dress in ways that make them look like “hookers … on street corners.” However, that point was contested by Dan Riehl—last spotted cowering in fear from some black toddlers who were “technically thugs”—who declared that he did, in fact, want to see conservative women dress like “hookers on the street”: In my opinion, CPAC is about politics, not parenting. If it takes hundreds of new folks with perhaps more libertarian, than traditional, leanings to infuse a more powerful right in America, I’ll take it. And if some number of them are hotties in tube tops, I’ll find a way to endure because I love America just that much. The more “hotties in tube tops,” Riehl argues, the more powerful the right will become, because nothing builds a stronger coalition more quickly than objectifying and diminishing half the people who might want to join it. To use the conservatives objection to gay marriage as a model of argumentation, first conservative women will be allowed to dress like hookers; then they’ll be required to dress like hookers; then they’ll be required to be hookers. And as Robert Stacy McCain—the man most likely to declare himself the winner of a Hunter S. Thompson prose-alike contest—pointed out, this process has already started: No one can responsibly disagree with [Dr.] Melissa [Clouthier]’s argument against the super-short and super-tight party dresses which some Republican coeds seem to consider de rigeur for a night on the town. Also, the bare cleavage—c’mon, guys, testify for me here—makes it quite difficult to concentrate on anything else except the bare cleavage. Conservative are already being required to dress like hookers! Moreover, look at the effect it’s having on family-oriented conservatives like McCain: not only is he incapable of diverting his eyes from the buffet of cleavage present at CPAC, he’s incapable of imagining a world in which conservative men possess the wherewithal to do anything other than stare at their compatriots’ breasts. Riehl isn’t some sexist exception—he’s just honest enough to admit that if women flaunt their wares, he’ll gladly gawk at them while pretending to agree with whatever they happen to be saying. What are they saying? Who cares? So long as the lungs pushing those words out reside beneath a bosom being amply displayed, Riehl and McCain will keep on nodding. How can...

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