Female Marxism, Part III: Great Moments in The Struggle
If, like me, you regard modern feminism as nothing but a neo-Marxist ruse aimed at undermining the family and diluting “traditional” masculinity in order the more easily to absorb the individual within the socialist collective, i.e., to facilitate totalitarianism, you will enjoy a short piece at Patterico’s site, “The Moment a Soon-to-Be-Released Book Crashes and Burns.”
In fact, “enjoy” is far too reserved a description. You will have your spiteful laugh of the week. You will hoot yourself into spasms of delicious revenge upon all fraudulent haters of mankind. You will experience a delight in another human being’s suffering so cleansing, so utterly devoid of mitigating pity, that you might begin to wonder whether it is morally healthy to feel so good about something so objectively humiliating.
In brief, Naomi Wolf, one of those latter-day, post-sexual revolution feminists, the sexy, tight-sweater-wearing female Marxist types, the climbers and careerists who leapt onto the harpy bandwagon as a calculated lunge at the financial success and professional respectability they could never have achieved purely on their intellectual merits — Naomi Wolf, I say, has stepped way into it this time.
Following the politically correct trends, as career-driven progressive frauds are wont to do, Wolf has “written a book” (pardon my over-generous application of that dignified phrase) defending the thesis that the West’s current (alleged) prejudice against and (supposed) persecution of homosexuals, or rather its prejudice against and persecution of “love,” is a product of the draconian laws and punishments enacted in Britain during Queen Victoria’s reign. In support of this banal claim — yes, we’ve all heard of Oscar Wilde — Wolf pads her argument with court records of the period indicating a sudden upsurge in convictions for sodomy (which kind of misses her own point, since she is claiming that this period initiated a turn toward criminalizing homosexual feelings as such, rather than sodomy). Specifically, she cites numerous cases in which, she claims, those convicted of homosexual love were even sentenced to death for their sexual orientation, several of the executed being minors.
And then, in promoting the soon-to-be-released book, Wolf did an interview for the BBC, conducted by British historian Matthew Sweet, in which she was challenged on her facts — or more precisely, in which she was faced with a person who is actually interested in the history of the period in question, rather than merely in exploiting the remoteness of that era in the minds of today’s illiterate, costume-drama-saturated, public-school-educated populace as an opportunity to promote a typical neo-Marxist historical fantasy of white male European oppression and intolerance. Put simply, Sweet demonstrates, politely but bluntly, that Wolf’s whole thesis is based on a complete misunderstanding of the language she was reading in the court records, and that in fact none of the executions she claims to have discovered ever happened. Furthermore, as if to raise the mere perfect murder into a complete annihilation, Sweet points out that the very records Wolf is carelessly misreading provide evidence that, exactly contrary to her thesis, Victorian England was tending toward greater tolerance of homosexual behavior, rather than turning the tide toward today’s alleged “homophobia” as she claims.
How fitting that the messenger of Ms. Wolf’s comeuppance is named “Sweet.” Indeed it is! Read the article at Patterico’s site, linked above, or listen to the original interview at the BBC’s website, with the really fun part beginning at the 21-minute mark.
Judging from what I have heard and seen of her routine over the years, Naomi Wolf is a classic example of a phenomenon that was fairly common during my own graduate school days: Intellectually weak girls who found their way into grad school by accidents of affirmative action or leniency toward the earnest but vacuous cute girl by merciful undergraduate professors who thought “Oh, she tries hard, give her the A”; and who then, devoid of a specialty or serious intellectual curiosity, buried themselves, self-protectively, under the wing of a feminist professor (typically an earlier version of the same phenomenon) desperate for acolytes and supervisory candidates.
These supervisors, partly for political reasons and partly to advance their own careers as self-conscious lightweights, will do anything to get their charges through the program and placed in equivalent positions at other universities. Circling the wagons with their fellow feminist simpletons to make sure no serious academics get in the way and object to such low-brow scholarship; feeding their girls with survey textbook snippets of serious theory — “Kantianism,” “Utilitarianism,” “Poststructuralism,” read the chapter headings — to provide some flimsy support for their empty, and therefore increasingly extreme, claims; leaping onto every new trend in leftist political correctness in order to look “relevant” (and to avoid those traditional areas of study in the humanities and social sciences where some rigor and attention to detail are still required), these young bimbos finagle their paltry way into quasi-respectable pseudo-academic careers. Most of the academy ignores them or smiles indulgently, rather than point out that the empress has no clothes.
(It is neither surprising, given that feminism is Marxism, nor unjust, given that the dominance of mindless progressive activism in today’s academy is largely the product of the indifference of older scholars, that Ms. Wolf, in 2004, actually had the gall to accuse her own most famous undergraduate professor, Harold Bloom, of the “offense” of touching her thigh at a dinner gathering with a few students, a generation earlier. Bloom is presumably one of the old men I noted above, who make the graduate school career of empty shells like Wolf possible in the first place, by kindly ignoring their vacuity in deference to their enthusiasm and perky cuteness. Men sometimes do that, you know. Pretty young girls know this too, and sometimes take advantage of it. This is hardly revelatory stuff — until the old professor’s over-generous judgment of the cute, flirtatious girl becomes fodder for her self-promoting attempt, decades later, to destroy his reputation for her own petty advantage. And who’s the victim here, exactly?)
These coddled pets of the university teach nonsense courses and spout undigested progressive talking points. The more ambitious true believers among them — or those whose mask of sincere activism has become their face, as Plato warns of the earnest actor — become public figures in their own right, go-to “experts” for the media and the political class to cite as support to advance their own politically correct agendas. “The senator was accompanied by prominent feminist Professor So-and-So,” the media declares, secure in the knowledge that the word “professor” achieves the optics they require among the general population, since most people are unaware that Dr. So-and-So, far from lending respectability to the senator’s policy position, is merely a dimwit fan club member for said senator, hoping to advance her own career by basking in the senator’s glory.