Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Gentleman's Last Stand

In my modern American novel class we were discussing the anti-Vietnam War book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. We were discussing in particular the type of person who gets his draft card and responds by running away to Canada. Some of my friends and I pointed out that such a person is both a coward and a disloyal American.

This was not the only, or even the dominant, opinion in the room. Someone else said that we should not judge this person’s actions because we have never been in his shoes. (By this logic jurors should not sentence convicted murderers unless they are murderers themselves). This classmate went on to add words to the effect of, “if I had been in that guy’s position I probably would have done the same thing and run away to Canada.”

So there you have it -- an American in an American classroom publicly stating that he would commit a criminal act by dodging the draft if the chance presented itself. What makes this statement truly remarkable, though, is that the speaker was a girl.

Doesn’t she know that women were exempt from the draft? Don’t my classmates know? Doesn’t my teacher? It didn’t look like it. (Of course, just a day before my teacher had said “the rumblings of the draft are very real” so there is obviously a lot she doesn’t know).

Perhaps the reason that so many people don’t know that women were exempt from the draft is that they don’t understand why they should be. After all, women are exactly the same as men (provided you ignore the obvious differences).

Today’s young man is not taught to be a gentleman -- he does not hold doors for a girl or carry her books; he grants girls no quarter in the co-educational gym classes, nor would you expect him to, because he has been taught that to differentiate between guys and girls would be sexist. So with the death of “sexism” we have the death of gentlemanly respect for women. And it’s a triumph for the feminists.

I wrote a piece several months ago on why women should not be allowed to serve in the military, closing with the observation that no self-respecting man would allow a woman to do his fighting for him. I was surprised by the reaction I got -- a lot of “self-respecting” males came up to tell me that they had no problems with letting women fight for them. One teacher added that he thought I had a good article, but why did I have to end it with such blatant chauvinism? Of course, I also got positive reactions to my article -- from guys I knew had considered or were considering military service. Maybe the self-respecting male is just a lot harder to find that he used to be.

There is a two-pronged attack on America’s manhood (and womanhood) at public schools. The first prong is in the lack of the patriotic lesson. The young men in our school seem to think that the highest goal they could have in life is to pump tremendous amounts of cash into their bank accounts. They do not think about honor, or service, because no one teaches them what a great country this is. In other words, they do not understand why the United States is worth defending. They don’t think about the manly pursuit of fighting for your homeland. They don’t think about manliness. (I should add, though, that I know several fellows who do think about these things. There are not too many of them, but they’re the sort of guys you want for friends.)

The second prong is the theory of guy-girl interchangeability, which could only have originated in the classroom. The unfortunate thing is, though, that it is much easier for a fellow to forget the rules of chivalry than it is for him to follow them. It is not easy to cultivate respect for anything, so why bother? -- particularly if you are told that this respect is a bad thing.

Chivalrous behavior towards women requires that gentlemen honor and respect ladies. This puts feminists in a bind, however, because to accept this honor would require that they admit there is a reason for it, and they see this as accepting an inferior position. They have decided, therefore, that it is better to let women live without this honor and respect.

It is obvious that feminists hate men -- men, in their view, are the condescending suppressors of female independence. In practice, however, feminists hate women even more. This hate has worked its way into the modern public school system, and the result is that young women are wasting time worrying about being drafted. The young gentleman, as well as the young lady, is being forced out.

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.” -- Deuteronomy 22:5


At 7:57 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Republican Dan said...

I would like to remind you that, as I have said before, I will not tolerate vulgarity on this blog. You can say whatever you want -- provided it's clean. If it is not, I will remove it.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

**The Clean Version (in an attempt to avoid the censors)**

So in this column you attempt to touch, draft dodging, feminism, Vietnam, public schools, girl-guy interchangeability, the military, how manly your friends are (which sounded pretty gay to me), and then you finish with some crap from the bible about cross-dressing.

So, first of all, it is pretty clear that you have never met or conversed with more than one feminist (I am going to venture that Ms Kimball is the extent of your exposure).

Second of all, if the world was made up of all the parties that you make simplistic caricatures of, you may be occasionally correct. But alas, you are not. Tim O'Brian's book is much more complex than anti-Vietnam, pro-Vietnam, yet you cast it like it’s a closed case.

Feminism is not about hating men or women. I would highly recommend that you know your subject matter before talking about it because I guarantee you that whatever interview you saw on FOXNews with some wacko feminist (keyword being wacko, not feminist) does not give you the qualifications to make the conclusions about them that you do (and I am pretty sure the Bible says something about that, biatch).

Also, I love how you make a conclusion about a flaw of our public schools with what evidence? You know some girls and guys at your high school? Hmm, you MUST be right if you have been in a public high of them. This is why people tend to substantiate their claims (yeah the Bible probably says something about this too).

Now this crap about chivalrous behavior and being a gentleman. First of all, I think that has absolutely no place being "taught" in a public school. How would that even be taught? Seriously, should we take every guy in 8th grade to a Renaissance Fair and see the Knights act all cool (also every guy could have a chance to throw a rotten tomato at the wenchs)? But seriously, what is being a gentleman; you describe it as holding doors and books anddddd, being nice in gym class. So how do you teach people that? Sounds like your problem has nothing to do with public education, which would be incapable of teaching kids to do those in the first place (look at how successful it is at keeping kids from drinking), but rather with mass media, which does not glorify chivalry enough and could actually have an impact on behavior (I highly doubt the Bible has anything about this).

Last, I think you have to somehow show that men are less gentlemanly because I do not necessarily think they are. Of course here you run into your problem of having no clue with what you are talking about...try to resolve that for us.

-Mr. Alec

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Jay Bullock said...

So . . . you'll be enlisting upon graduation, then?

At 6:58 PM, Blogger R said...

Mr.'re right on in everything you say. Basically, we're supposed to learn how to be a gentleman. I suppose Dan is a perfect gentleman, being that he is perfect in every way, of course. I guess being a gentleman is going on smear campaigns against your friends on total lies. I guess that's gentlemanly. Perhaps the history department should teach that in school? That's what's wrong with Amity: It doesn't teach everyone how to be complete idiots and assholes (aka gentlemanly). My bad. Oh, and hypocrites.


At 7:59 PM, Blogger Theorigamist said...

You're encountering a huge problem in your argument because you're interchanging the quality of being a gentleman with the quality of being chivalrous. They're not the same thing. Chivalry--which is commonly misused to mean a certain way men treat women (and this meaning has been used so often that it has become accepted as such)--in fact means the code of conduct to which knights must adhere. I hardly think I'll need to be chivalrous any time soon, or at least until I acquire a sword and horse.

I agree that being a gentleman isn't explicitly taught in public high school. I learned how to behave from my parents, but apparently you haven't. I do hold doors for people (both men and women, just to be nice, not for some artificial concept of niceness that only applies to the opposite sex). It is not the responsibility of just the public school system to raise children.

Also, what was that shit about manliness? What does it mean to say that men don't "think about manliness"? Manliness is just the quality of being a man. Any other bullshit that you attach to it (for example, you appear to require a man to serve in the army in order to be manly) is just a mistaken connotation that the word picked up somewhere. Explain to me, logically, what use there is to thinking specifically about manliness.

By the way, I've noticed that you only reply to comments when you're censoring them nowadays. Is there some reason you don't like to at least pretend to back up your own bullshit?

At 11:17 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

So I am going to complain about the censoring. Did Commander Mike make ridiculous claims? Yes. And I would have probably deleted similar comments in my blog. But I posted two versions of my post, a clean and a not clean version. Why did you delete the not-clean version? I said fuck and shit. And in the new version I deleted the fuck and changed shit to crap. Now I think Justice Potter Stewart's approach to pornography could be applied to your attempt at ridding the world of vulgarity, which is of course, "I know it when I see it." And Dan, my post was not vulgar, just because it had swear words does not make it vulgar. Using those words in an attempt to drive home a point is not outside of the bounds of vulgarity.

Now finally, I love how you have the time to apparently read all our posts, censor them accordingly, but not actually respond to arguements. I don't care if someone laces their statements with swears or bible passages, I will respond to their arguements, I would recomend you do the same.

-Mr. Alec

At 2:56 AM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

It is fortunate that I keep meticulous archives of all my posts, triply biometerically encrypted of course so that the government's spies don't track me down like they do to all free-thinking citizens. But, as they say in France, Grosser
Brueder schaut Ihnen an.

In an attempt to please the Blog Gods, I will post a version of my comments with profanities removed.

A female friend of mine and I had an argument about how many women have had some kind of [amoral] contact with another woman. She said it was like 60-80% which is hard to believe except that 60% of the women I have been with have had some kind of [abomination unto God] experience either before meeting me or once while she was with me (cheated on me with her friend).

Anyways, the studies I have seen on the net say that both men and women have had same [intercourse] experiences in the 10% range and less than 5% consider themselves [abominations unto God].

10% seems way low, especially in popular culture nowadays where women are glamourized and given extra-special attention if their sexuality is ambiguous.

And no I have never been in a threesome and would never consider one even though I have had the opportunity several times in my life and just either said no or else did not massage the angles in a way to create the situation where such an event would occur.

Why no? Well part of it is religious, part of it is kind of a moral hypocrisy among men where it is OK for women to do that thing but sucking another guy's [sexual organ] will send you to [Dante's inferno], and some of it is just plain common sense in not wanting to push the [natural] sensitivity barrier so high that I can only experience pleasure with another woman if [sinful images] is going on in the background or else there happens to be multiple women.

Anyways, those are my personal qualms about it all, but it seems like once you get to be my age it is hard to find a woman who has not had at least one [murdering of an unborn child] and at least one [abomination unto God] experience. Has the social climate of the United States always been this way except it was in the closet, or is this a fundamental shift in American culture and western culture in general.

Since laws are usually based upon modern moral codes, is the legalization of polygamy going to be the next big thing in this slippery slope of a hyper[intercourse]ed culture some would say is in decline?

How this relates to the women-in-the-army debate is obvious. If you do not see it than I suggest you are a [mentally disadvantaged person].

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Another Bleeding Heart Liberal said...


Although I think that Dan's article is [rubbish], I really don't see the connection between [said abominations] and women serving in the military. I guess I must be mentally challenged. Could you please explain that in the least vulgar, profane, and explicit way possible?

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

Well you see, both negative reinforcement and positive reinforcement have their place in women in the military.

I mean traditional Chinese interrogation tactics for thousands of years basically involved something like "OK Mr. Wong-Be-Long, your [dong] will be cut off and shoved down your pencilneck throat if you don't tell us what we need, or you can tell us what we need to know and you can have endless [intercourse] with a bunch of our hot [females]."

If you do negative reinforcement all the time, then people will hate you so much they will just stubbornly rebel at all costs, but if you do positive reinforcement all the time then you are just a dumb naive [pudendum] with no teeth.

Whereas if you involve women, they will be much more resistant to torture in war situations because you cant offer them hot [females], unless of course women are all [sinful]. So you can see why it matters.

Use both at the same time and you have much better results in behaviour modification.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Another Bleeding Heart Liberal said...

Alrighty then.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Republican Dan said...

Now that I have the time, I’ll start off with the easy replies.

Commander Mike (and all you guys): If my language-constraints are too narrow to accommodate your big mouth, I can only suggest that you take it elsewhere (your big mouth, that is).

First, Mr. Bullock: No, I will not be enlisting; I will be going through PLC during college and will accept a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps upon graduation. I hope this does not disappoint you.

Ryan: Of course I never called myself a perfect gentleman – I’m not. I do try though, to attain the gentlemanly ideal. You seem to suggest that gentlemen are equivalent to “complete idiots and assholes,” but this cannot be, as, while you yourself are not a gentleman, you are most certainly an asshole.

Theorigamist: I am afraid that it is you who are “encountering a huge problem with your argument;” I believe that it arises from your inability to use a dictionary properly. I, however, will come to the rescue: Chivalry is defined both as “the medieval institution of knighthood” and “the qualities idealized by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, and honesty.”

While you are correct that one learns proper behavior from his parents, the absence of support for the gentlemanly precepts in school reinforces ungentlemanly behavior and this should not be tolerated. In addition, large numbers of parents are failing to teach their children about chivalry (and morality) and that leaves increasing numbers of future parents without anything to teach their children. It is necessary for children who do not learn proper behavior at home to learn it elsewhere – at school.

Next, you are not manly by virtue of being born a man. This is why Hillel said, “In a place where there are no men, try to be a man” (Pikei Avos 2:6). He was not, of course, referring to some location with a dearth of the male specimen. Someone who is manly manifests chivalrous and other characteristics, among them courage, wisdom, honesty, strength of character. Manliness is part of the gentlemanly ideal.

Mr. Alec: I would like to say, first of all, that since this is my blog, the degree of tolerable vulgarity is entirely up to me.

Unfortunately, I have met many feminists, so your ventured suggestion is incorrect. What do you suggest their philosophy is -- because in practice it works out to hatred of both men and women.

Second, I was not attempting to summarize O’Brien’s book. I wanted to describe as much as I could simply. Since it would be immature to say “O’Brien’s embarrassing disaster of a novel,” I chose “anti-Vietnam War book,” which is quite accurate.

I do not see how you could possibly suggest that the young men of today are as gentlemanly as those who came before them; the great difference in behavior of both men and women should be obvious, even to you.

It is probably not possible to teach kids to be gentlemanly at school only by giving them sets of rules to follow (though this wouldn’t hurt). The gentlemanly ideal should be reinforced by example of the teacher and school leaders, and examples of ungentlemanly behavior should be corrected so that, at least while kids are in school, they are forced to behave like gentlemen.

I may add more later if I feel inclined to do so.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Correct, this is your blog, you do make the rules. But I can still call the stupid, and it being your blog does not make the rules unstupid.

Now it is good to see that you realize that your blaming of the public school system for our supposedly yet unsubstantiated manliness deficit was, well, stupid. I love how your solution is, well our schools should give kids rules to follow. So essentially you would want a hold open doors rule. Now is it just me or would this be the most unbelievable waste of time? Teachers have enough to do without enforcing a "say please and thank you rule." Perhaps we should hire a squadran of Manliness Agents (the MA for short) who can patrol the hallways for instances of lack of manliness and beat the crap out of the guy who shows such weakness, thus teaching them some much needed manliness. Your suggestion that schools fill the void that parents might be causing is simply not feasible.

So in returning to reality, I want to briefly argue the existance of a manliness deficit, because you say, well its obvious, come onnnnnn. My answer is, well it is not so obvious. If you standard is what is shown on TV these days then yes, I would agree with you. But in order for that to be correct, you first need to show that TV is an accurate reflection of all of societies behavior at that time, something you can not do. Furthermore, I think the change in TV is more reflective of a growing demographic watching TV, whereas in the 1950s, Leave It To Beaver was watched by a small percentage of Americans because of the lack of TVs, now almost all of America watches TV, all the time. So perhaps the vast market that TV was not attempting to reach in the 1950s was just as unmanly as they are now, we just never saw it on TV.

Now the issue of feminism, last time I checked feminism had nothing to do with hatred, it had to do with empowering woman, who are often placed at a significant societal disadvantage (something any gentleman would know). So if a "feminist" is upset about the demands of a professional career and the societal expectation of motherhood, I am alright with that. It seems justified and I would not characterize that as hatred.

But furthermore, I think that you confuse the main complaint of many feminists. While many feminists push for government assistance of women's rights in the workplace, they do not all support females in combat. Mostly because an important distinction lies in arenas where women can and do help and those where they do not. The former includes being competitive in gym, being academically competitive, not taking crap from guys (manly or not), being vocal about their opinions (even if society has told them to be quiet and look pretty), etc. The latter includes combat in the army annddddd, well thats all I can actually come up with. Furthermore I think we can agree that the main complaint of feminists is not that women do not get to shoot Iraqis, it is the litany of other offenses they suffer and that I listed. So when you disparage a caricature of feminists who for the most part, do not even support female combat missions, you do them a great disservice, because when they "hate" men, I think it is for a damn good purpose.


-Mr. Alec

At 7:40 PM, Blogger Theorigamist said...

So you finally decided to respond to me? Too bad you're still just spouting bullshit.

You said: "Theorigamist: I am afraid that it is you who are “encountering a huge problem with your argument;” I believe that it arises from your inability to use a dictionary properly. I, however, will come to the rescue: Chivalry is defined both as “the medieval institution of knighthood” and “the qualities idealized by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, and honesty.”"

So, recap:
I said: "You're misusing the word chivalry to mean a specific code of conduct towards women, when, in fact, chivalry refers to knights."

You respond: "I decided to look something up, and it turns out chivalry is the set of qualities idealized by the knighthood." Nowhere do you mention anything connecting chivalry with women. Thank you for making my point very, very explicitly.

You said: "While you are correct that one learns proper behavior from his parents, the absence of support for the gentlemanly precepts in school reinforces ungentlemanly behavior and this should not be tolerated. In addition, large numbers of parents are failing to teach their children about chivalry (and morality) and that leaves increasing numbers of future parents without anything to teach their children. It is necessary for children who do not learn proper behavior at home to learn it elsewhere – at school."

Your argument here appears to be: parents are not teaching their kids how to act properly, so schools should take on that burden. [Explitive] you. That is a stupid thing to say. First of all, the obvious logical solution would not be to have the schools teach manners (in an attempt to come to some agreement as to what we're arguing about, I'm going to say manners instead of chivalry from now on)). The logical solution would be to make parents teach their children better.

Second, teaching manners is absolutely not the function of a public school system, although it should occur to some degree. You can hardly ask the public school system to be absolutely responsible for raising children to be good people, especially since a third grader really has no basis for the complicated philosophical thinking that would actually allow someone to come to the conclusion that morals and ethics are useful. (In other words, no elementary level child, and probably very few high school level children, have the capacity or background to understand the need for morals other than to act how they've been taught to act.)

Third, you make the assumption that this is a self-propagating system. You say that there will be an increasing number of people who won't know how to teach their own children morals. That's bullshit. You don't stop learing morals, manners or ethics after you leave high school (although I suppose you wouldn't know that yet).

You said: "Next, you are not manly by virtue of being born a man. This is why Hillel said, “In a place where there are no men, try to be a man” (Pikei Avos 2:6). He was not, of course, referring to some location with a dearth of the male specimen. Someone who is manly manifests chivalrous and other characteristics, among them courage, wisdom, honesty, strength of character. Manliness is part of the gentlemanly ideal."

So, you disagree with my view of what it means to be manly, and your "evidence" for this is a quote which nowhere mentions any of the things you've described as manliness. Then you decide what the quote actually means in a way that's convenient to your argument. Congratulations, you're a tool.

Look, I can quote things, too:
"In every language all words which express the distinctive character of the age must change, and precisely this seems to me true of kalos k'agathos. I do not recall having read it in the oldest Greeks; it is a word from the age of beautiful prose and fine political ethics. In the times when arete, virtue, still meant only braveness of body and spirit, only a brave man counted as agathos. Thus in Homer the heroes know no better word for their dignity than when his Agamemnon says, often enough, [For I am agathos]. Just as little as the word agathos means a moral goodness here, at a time when bravery counted above everything else, equally little would this age put up with kalous k'agathous in Shaftesbury's refined sense. The word kalos had this origin as well, and was applied to the [heroes] who fought [mightily] and [bravely] in battle. But with time the spirit of ehtics became more refined: the word arete meant utility; the words agathos and kalos meant a man effective in affairs, and even the name of honor aner lost something of its manliness. Because in that age wisdom too was still only a servant of the state, the wise men therefore undertook to educate such useful men who were honest human beings and effective citizens." - Herder, Fragments on Recent German Literature, translated by Michael Forster.

So if you can follow that quote, you'll see that the meaning of an entirely connotative word like manliness changes over time according to the values of the period in which it is used. In particular, manliness has lost much of its previously inherent values such as bravery and honor. So I maintain that manliness today is not the same thing as what you are talking about (chivalry), and that it is hardly a useful concept to discuss.

By the way, do your own damn research from now on, slacker.

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

It was already established a very long time ago, that Dan is a gung-ho, average Joe, who is just smart enough to know, that any career in the private sector was a definite no, so he suits up in the only place he can go, whose employment standards now are now so low, that it won't accept [the differently sexual] (like Dan), yet will still choose to employ drug-addicts, convicts, and retardos. Not that the military is a dishonorable career path to go, but quite frankly our military could do without politically fascist grunts who join up not out of patriotic duty, but only to satisfy their juvenile bloodlust to see the blood of our dehumanized enemies flow.

Add on the facts that Dan is not hung that low, needs the juice to grow, is probably on the down low (yah don't ask don't tell ain't fair yah know), mentally ain't in the know, not that buff but puts on a good inflated fatigue show, gets owned by Cmdr Mike endless times in a row, and last but not least could be most eloquently summed up as "slow", well all I can say to you Pitt, my most allegiant bro, is that when compared to me, you will always just [flippin] blow.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

For as crazy as many of your comments are, that one was pretty impressive. Bravo.

-Mr. Alec

At 8:26 PM, Blogger hottmitch said...

You are right on Republican Dan. Society is definitely becoming too politically correct. And I'm with you all the way. When I enlist, unfortunately in the Canadian Army, I am fighting for for my country. I wish I could fight for the USA, because you aren't all a bunch of babies down there. Oops, that wasn't politically corect, I hope I didn't offend any babies or infants. You Democrats make me sick.
It's certainly true that feminists are way to easy to offend. If I hold the door open for a woman it isn't to disrespect them, it's to be a gentleman or to be chivalrous. It's not that they couldn't do it by themselves. However that is a very simple example of a very complex problem.
Anyways, in conclusion, I'm with you 100% of the way Republican Dan.


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