Saturday, January 19, 2013

When he's right, he's Wright

I have posted my thoughts apropos of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday at What's Wrong With the World.

By way of posting something different and independent here, I'm falling back, as once before, on stealing quotations from one of the most eminently quotable bloggers currently writing (that I know of)--lawyer and science fiction author John C. Wright. (I've never read any of his science fiction and am not generally interested in sci-fi, so don't take this as an endorsement of his fiction.) Wright is quirky as all git-out, but when he's right, he's Wright. He is working singlehandedly to revive the art of invective in American discourse, and since the people against whom he's inveighing so often deserve it, and since he does it so well, one can only cheer.

I don't always read Wright, but when I do, I'm usually glad to have done so. He got a little too...focused during election season, but now that that's over he can get back to a broader range of topics. In this treatise he does mention abortion, which he rightly loathes, but only by way of illustration. Speaking of our leftist opponents, he says,
Hating motherhood, they hate children. Go to an abortion mill and see. Listen to their absurd overpopulation fears, now in a day when we suffer underpopulation. Hear how they talk as if childbirth is punishment. Look at how they try to sexualize children as quickly as possible and keep grown men infants as long as possible.
But I give that particular quotation only because of the connection with Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Wright's lengthy essay, which you almost certainly won't have time to read all at one go, is full of things that are much more biting than that, as well as being extremely funny.

Wright starts off discussing the hysterical reactions to some compliments a sports announcer paid to a beauty queen, and from there he manages to work in everything else in the world and the kitchen sink. He contrasts the silly, PC objections to the compliments with a truly chivalrous and old-fashioned objection, thus:
The point being made here is not that Mr Musburger overstepped the bounds of gentlemanly propriety, and exposed a young woman to embarrassment by too fulsome a compliment broadcast too publicly.
I would respect, and even salute, any man man enough to have uttered that criticism in public. Gentleman do not express lust over the wives and sweethearts of other gentlemen, but may only express respectful admiration. This is because a true man, a man of nobility expressing the best of masculine character, is a paragon of self control, and a wary guardian of the virtue and the sensitive character of the weaker sex.
No doubt my last sentence sounds like a parody to you, does it not, dear reader? If so, you can understand why the objection to Mr Musburger’s comments were not criticized in these terms. My sentence comes from a chivalrous and indeed a Catholic worldview, which affirms both the greater strength and dominion and therefore the greater humility and duty placed on the male sex. For Christian gentlemen, men lead and rule, and leaders are servants who give all they have, body and soul, even unto death, like a shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. (We Christians are also much sexier in every way than the wimpy agnostics and their sad barbarian machismo, and our women are fertile, nubile, feminine, and cute, and make better mates and mothers and human beings than the neurotic unisex tramps from your world, heathen losers. Deal with it.)

(Did you manage to finish that passage without laughing? I didn't. I laugh every time I read it.) He continues,

In this case, I will forgo my usual polite habits, so I will not be referring to Mr Waldron by the name Mr Waldron, because he did not call Miss Webb by the name Miss Webb. He merely called her ‘Webb.’ I merely call him ‘creature.’
Let us now turn to what the creature Waldron’s comment is. What it is, is illogical.
The logical error involved is irrelevance. The words here are strung together to form an emotion impressionistic mood, like a blurry cloud of passion, without sharp edges, definition, or necessity.
For example, the first sentence asserts that Mr Musburger’s comment that quarterbacks often attract an attractive girlfriend is said to be “not puzzling” in something identified as the “beer-wings-and-women culture” of college football.
What is the point of this particular string of terms?
Why, for example, are fans of football (some of whom, or so I am told, are indeed women) not described as a culture of “athletics, statistics, and team spirit” or something else related to the sport?
Why mention beer and wings, as opposed to, say, hot peanuts and hotdogs and crackerjacks and Coca Cola, which fans (or so I am told) also consume at games?
No, the rhetorical point here is merely to sneer at the crude and loutish tastes of the hoi polloi.


Now, I have as much respect for teetotalers, vegetarians, and celibates as can be, and indeed, I have considerably more respect for asceticism and self-discipline than does the culture, if it may be called that, surrounding me. So one would think me to be in sympathy with the creature Walloon or whatever his name is.
But no, for the thought, if it can be called that, the creature continues with is that Mr Musburger’s comment that a stalwart quarterback will often attract an attractive girlfriend is “troubling” on the grounds that “there is a culture of domestic violence and sexual assault in football.”
As an attorney, I am always delighted when the prosecution makes a vague rather than a specific claim, because it can be summarily dismissed by the defense. The claim is this case is not that Mr Musburger was aiding and abetting any acts of wifebeating and sexual assault, but merely that the average for such crimes is higher among someone or something associated with the National Football League than the national average.
The creature Waldron does not say specifically that NFL players or fans or sportsannouncers or owners have higher rates of conviction for wifebeating and rape than the national average: he merely makes a windy assertion that there is a nebulous something he calls a “culture” which, it is implied without being said, somehow applauds or enables such violent crimes.
The statement is a lie, and an outrageous lie, and, in a civilized nation or age, a football fan would challenge the creature to a duel with sword or pistol, as a warning to others to mind their words before they slander gentlemen of good character.
Now, I do not know if the statement is literally false. It may indeed be that, taken as a group, any random selection of healthy young men will have a higher incidence of violent crimes, including rape, than the national average, on the grounds that the national average includes old ladies who rarely beat their wives and never commit rape.
You see why I like this guy?
But please note that no cause and effect chain is posited by the creature, not even alleged, between the idea that jocks win the hearts of maidens fair and the idea that various horrid crimes mentioned here are permissible. The lack of logic is beyond astonishing, and well in the area of being transcendental and unearthly: it is almost like a Zen koan.
This is the accusation: If you compliment a women, you are a rapist. If you think girls find athletes attractive, you are a rapist. If you wish to attract the eye of the opposite sex with your virility at sports or your self discipline to excel at a sport, you are a rapist. If you drink beer, you are a rapist. If you eat fried chicken wings, you are a rapist. If you are a man, you are a rapist.
Obviously, no one in his right mind believes this accusation nor utters it expecting to be believed. That is why it is not uttered, only implied.
That is why the language used by the creature is both so gassy and vague and yet so pointed and accusatory. Someone, it is not clear who, is being accused of a crime beyond misdemeanor, beyond felony, beyond enormity, beyond abomination, and yet it is not clear what this crime is.
Is the crime the fact that Mr Musburger taught and encouraged AJ McCarron that quarterbacking gives one the right to rape beauty queens? That possessing a beauty queen as an unwilling harem slave was part of the wages offered by the Illuminati to successful quarterbacks?
But, on the one hand, Mr Musburger did not say anything remotely like that, and, on the other hand, the Illuminati do not exist, having been destroyed by the UFO people who live in energy pyramids beneath the Bermuda Triangle.
Okay, so sometimes he gets a little carried away, but still...It's great stuff.

Wright goes on to say, in all seriousness, that the reason PC-ists write such gaseous and illogical gibberish is that they are, in fact, engaging in a kind of liturgical worship of the Nothing. And he postulates a shrewd conjecture, noting  the piece of leftist song liturgy "Imagine," that they hope that by eliminating all distinctions between truth and falsehood, between right and wrong, they can bring about Utopia. They believe, he says, that the absence of conviction means the presence of harmony.

He relates this nihilism to the utterly upside-down values and priorities of modern leftists, of which he offers us examples, including this one,
I have been in a conversation with a man who objected to my using the word “Chinaman” to refer to the people ruled by Mao, but was nonchalant, even innocently puzzled like a wide-eyed kitten, that I or anyone would think there was anything wrong with Mao’s genocide of countless Chinamen. (For the record, his numbers far exceed Stalin’s.) The first was a matter worth shrieking like a steam whistle about, whereas the second was a meaningless historical oddity having nothing in particular to do with the advantages or disadvantages of totalitarian socialism.
There is much more, and he winds up with this peroration:
They hate reason. They hate, hate, hate the truth and regard claims to know to truth to be violent lies. Talk to them and see.
Why hate such delightful and salutary things, things man cannot live without? It is because God is the source and summit of reason, truth, virtue, and beauty. And they would rather die than think, would rather go to hell.
They hate masculinity. This is because God is masculine. They hate superiority and inferiority. This is because God is superior and we are inferior. They hate fatherhood because they hate the Father.
Hating fatherhood, they hate femininity. What else can the sweet and nurturing nature of the female be for them, aside from a Yellow Star of oppression?
Hating motherhood, they hate children. Go to an abortion mill and see. Listen to their absurd overpopulation fears, now in a day when we suffer underpopulation. Hear how they talk as if childbirth is punishment. Look at how they try to sexualize children as quickly as possible and keep grown men infants as long as possible.
They hate man, the idea of man. Look at how they rally to the rights of animals, all the while proclaiming man is nothing but an animal.
Do not be deceived, dear readers. The Leftist hate us with a deep and abiding hatred. They hate everything about us, from sunshine to pretty girls to brave boys to solid gold to warm firearms to truth, beauty, and virtue. Everything good, they call evil, and everything evil they call good.
They even hate calling a beautiful woman a beauty.
But it is not because they are evil, or illogical, or insane, or unwise. It is because they have lost their way. They have gouged out their eyes, and complain the noon is dark. They have locked themselves in a cage and thrown away the only key. They are lonely for divine love, and homesick for heavenly wonders.
The shepherd of heaven is seeking to for them with more craft and stealth and subtlety than you or I can imagine. Choirs of angels more numberless than the stars themselves, and older, will peal songs to shake the orbs of heaven when even the least of these lost is found.
Let us praise God that He placed such sublime examples of beauty and virtue in our midst as the Daughters of Eve, knowing we have done nothing to merit such an inexpressible gift.
When the lost fret over beauty queens, let us rejoice. Even to look at such loveliness is a reason for gratitude and a cause for devout reflection on the goodness of the world we Sons of Adam have marred. 

It sure would be fun to be able to write like that. But it's also fun to quote it. If you don't have time to read the whole Wright post, enjoy the plums above.


John said...


In reference to the claim cited by Wright that male football culture is more prone to wifebeating and rape, you wondered:

"Now, I do not know if the statement is literally false. It may indeed be that, taken as a group, any random selection of healthy young men will have a higher incidence of violent crimes, including rape, than the national average, on the grounds that the national average includes old ladies who rarely beat their wives and never commit rape."

This looks to be a resurfacing of an old feminist myth that began with what Christina Hoff Sommers calls "the Super Bowl hoax of January 1993." This became one of the "noble lies" advanced by feminism. Women's groups joined together and press-released the idea that Super Bowl Sunday would be the worst day of the year for domestic violence, with 40% more women being battered that day.

Sommers exposé, "Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women?" was a real eye-opener when it was published in 1994. I suppose the original hoax is indelibly established in our cultural lore as fact.

Btw, thanks for introducing me to John C. Wright.

Lydia McGrew said...

That quotation is still part of the Wright quotation. That's all Wright, not me.

I think he's combining a boring truism (and pointing out that it's a boring truism) with humor. On the boring truism side, of course violent crime in general has a higher incidence among young males than in the population at large, but so what? On the humor side, of course little old ladies (included in the national average of the whol population) cannot beat their wives.

It doesn't follow that Super Bowl Sunday will be the worst day of domestic violence for the year or anything like that. Wright is only acknowledging an uninteresting comparative statement, while deprecating its importance as he passes by it.