The Clare Spark Blog

October 9, 2016

The Man of the Crowd must be a rapist

1934 image, Wikipedia

1934 image, Wikipedia

Donald J Trump now stands convicted of sexual assault and, almost as horrid, bad taste. https://clarespark.com/2014/12/18/rape-culture/.

Ask any “moderate” Republicans (i.e., closet social democrats), and they will tell you that they knew it all along. For many pundits (even on “fair and balanced” Fox), one “quasi-apology” is not enough, for the man’s essence must be rotten to the core, just like the “white working class” that he ostensibly represents in all its embarrassing  “misogyny.” (Even Charles Krauthammer, Chris Wallace, and Hillary Clinton share this liberal opinion, though they don’t mention class perspective, as I have. See https://clarespark.com/2009/08/24/the-people-is-an-ass-or-a-herd/.)

Who knew that Fox’s female anchors and featured players were such prudes, given their come-hither long eyelashes, heavy make-up, above-the-knee dresses/exposed thighs, high heels, (where possible) cleavage, and (usually) long, princess hair?

Why, one would suspect that these strong women are ardent defenders of the female sex, hence feminists, more interested in “character” and “judgment” than in policy (especially national security). If so, this would line up the Fox ladies with the most bigoted patriarchal types, accepting the stereotype that the “lower orders” (i.e., Trump supporters) are criminal by nature. https://clarespark.com/2009/08/24/the-people-is-an-ass-or-a-herd/.

trump supporters, Meme.com

trump supporters, Meme.com

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October 1, 2016

Pseudo-feminism and the Alicia Machado flap

Alicia Machado as depicted on HuffPo

Alicia Machado as depicted on HuffPo

[Ersatz “feminists” are prolonging this fight  on the grounds that Hillary was just “protecting her marriage.” So I ask, “what marriage”?]

This blog is about the political debate following Hillary Clinton’s criticism of Donald Trump’s alleged sexism at the tail end of the first debate. What is at stake here?

It is the mark of the upwardly mobile female to profess “feminism” while ignoring the facts of material existence. Many television figures, while promoting “inclusion,” ignore the controversies that have emerged since the second wave of feminism lapped at the shores in the late 1960s and 1970s. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-wave_feminism.

For instance, it is not clear that the claims of liberal feminists that men and women are biologically “equal,” stand up to scrutiny. One need not be a George Gilder-style biological determinist (see Sexual Suicide, published in 1973 as a critique of abandoned and abandoning women) to note that women who combine the roles of mother and breadwinner (i.e., who seek a career outside the home), may experience role conflict, apart from socialization in “sexist” institutions, as many feminists claim. Are such conflicts built into our female “nature,” or are they a symptom of the incomplete transition from home-bound Mom to female leader (e.g., in the media, military, or in politics and academe)?

Or take the pseudo-feminist outrage that Trump insulted Alicia Machado by allegedly calling her “Miss Piggy”. Do not these same defenders of science lecture us about obesity and the importance of exercise and nutrition? When Michelle Obama emphasizes such issues, do liberals carry on about her sexism and “fat-shaming?” (For a liberal feminist treatment of “fat-shaming see https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-reaction-to-trumps-fat-shaming-reinforces-toxic-ideas-about-fatness/2016/09/30/800fba0c-872b-11e6-92c2-14b64f3d453f_story.html?utm_term=.192c7341b412.)

(For another controversy within the dominant social democracy, see the fuss over (materialist) “male science” versus mystical “female science.” Feminist science, it is said by our betters, would prioritize Green politics as the sane corrective to bizarre male empiricism. The “posthumanist” Donna Haraways of the world are in the same bag as the female defenders of equality in all things.

Fabrizio Terranova still of Donna Haraway film

Fabrizio Terranova still of Donna Haraway film

Speaking of Hillary Clinton’s rumor mongering, how do we know when we are not fascists?

Who owns the facts?

April 1, 2016

’70s feminism and its bizarre legacy

MegynKellyI have written so frequently about the “second wave” of feminism that I didn’t think another blog was merited. But this week, the media attention to Donald Trump’s alleged gaffes, supposedly indicative of his vile sexism and aggressiveness in “the war on women” made me change my mind about a feminist blog that would reveal the base media distortions directed against advocates for female equality.

First, the flap against abortion. One extreme conservative smear consists of the proposition that pro-choice feminists are “pro-abortion.” To be sure, there exist women who use legal abortions as a form of birth control, but I have never known a case where agonizing ‘soul-searching’, extreme youth, or poverty did not accompany the termination of a pregnancy. (https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states.)

As for Trump’s gaffe, he was plainly reacting to the necessity to conform to the rule of law. Of course, he should have refused to discuss the subject, since it was obviously a Chris Matthews trap. Indeed, the subject had never come up in the Republican debates (except for Planned Parenthood), since it is assumed that all Republicans would be “pro-life” (though I have long insisted that Republicans might better focus on the feminist question “Is there life after birth”? See https://clarespark.com/2015/10/10/is-there-life-after-birth-states-rights-and-controlling-our-children/. A more interesting question would have been regarding Trump’s view of embryonic stem cell research. See http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/pages/basics5.aspx.)

Second, the class basis of ‘70s feminism. As I have stressed over and over, the “second wave” of feminism came out of the civil rights/antiwar movement, and its chief publicists appealed to middle class educated women, resentful of male put-downs, relegating them to secretaries at the beck and call of “movement heavies.” Or, alternatively, ‘70s feminism may be seen as a revolt against domesticity (Betty Friedan was the chief instigator on this front.)

What Friedan failed to recognize was that, since John Locke’s idea of the tabula rasa and the Industrial Revolution that removed the paterfamilias from the home, domesticity gave women unprecedented influence in the home/child-rearing and also in the Progressive movement that was striving “to make the whole world home-like.” To displaced patriarchs, this was an outrageous turn of events that one might surmise helped fuel the opposition to votes for women, who already seemed to have too much power, especially in their uncanny sexual power (too reminiscent, perhaps of Mother).

Although some lesbian feminists had a different agenda, liberal heterosexual feminists mostly failed to focus on such crucial issues as the co-option of feminist demands that failed to challenge “the beauty myth”, deficiencies in women’s health, and the dumbing down of American culture owing to the growing power of mass media (including Fox News Channel), which were all too eager to promote hyper-sexuality, blondes, cosmetics, plastic surgery, fashion fetishes (such as stiletto heels), and role reversal where the dominatrices ruled.

Third, the uplifting conception of “victimology.” Enter the second Trump scandal of the week: the Michelle Fields affair. Independents, libertarians, and conservatives alone seem to be objecting to current widespread practice in the schools to enforce “safe zones” where allegedly bullying (white) males must be isolated, reformed, and punished. (Other victim groups usually get off the hook; such is the power of academic social justice warriors.)

Predictably, the glamourous female journalists (who don’t self-identify as “feminists”) promoted by Fox News Channel and mainstream television outlets generally fail to question or probe the negative aspects of 70s feminism. Why should they?

angryfeminist

September 19, 2015

The “Authenticity” gambit

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 4:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

brand-authenticityThe term “authenticity” was much used by trendy existentialists, and was antithetical to  “bad faith,” posing, and oddly, essentialism. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authenticity_(philosophy). Sometimes racists appropriate the term to explain real “difference,” e.g. an “authentic” black is true to cultural nationalist definitions of blackness (this used to be called “negritude” by radical activists such as Alain Locke and Frantz Fanon).

The word is now being thrown around in the mass media to account for Donald Trump’s lead in the Republican campaign. The businessman/developer is now lauded as “telling it like it is” and as expressing his true inner man. Are we collectively hovering close to insanity by losing touch with things as they are, or as they might be?

There was a time when common sense acknowledged that reality is often impenetrable (owing to high level secrecy, and our own conditioning or ignorance), and, similarly, we are tongue-tied in the face of most social relationships, for, like it or not, all social relations are rule-bound and we occupy places in the pecking order, often as underlings at the mercy of employers, husbands, parents, clerics, and lovers. Top dog or bottom dog, we are rarely “authentic” for managers, no less than employees, are rule-bound and must manipulate their words to maintain cooperation and “brand” loyalty.

But more, we may rely upon various “experts” promoted by mass media to tell us what we are feeling, or who are the heroes/villains in our personal dramas.

Are we participating in an illusion that masks real dangers to our personal and planetary survival, comparable to nuclear warfare in its consequences?

September 12, 2015

Why is gay marriage a hot button issue for religious conservatives?

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Alabama protest

Alabama protest

The culture wars have overtaken the 2016 political campaign, as the Kim Davis incident in Kentucky, along with the overwhelming importance of “faith” now becoming a favorite topic on Fox News Channel, and no one, including Fiorina, seems to know how to analyze Donald Trump’s put down of Carly’s “face” that he blatantly describes as un-presidential (and indirectly as ugly).

This brings me back to misogyny, and the taboo against excessive androgyny (or blurring of male and female characteristics, apparently the case in ambitious Carly F., who dares to invade male turf).

First, misogyny. It is not widely acknowledged (though obvious) that women compete with other women to snag the most desirable males, and both model and resent gorgeous women, who simultaneously “plain” women strive to emulate, putting themselves through time consuming and expensive regimens of perfect hair, makeup, and recently, toned bodies as desirable as Greek goddesses are imagined to be. Pre-nup agreements guarantee that powerful, successful males can dump their wives with minimal consequences, while competition with younger women adds compulsion to wives striving against the inevitable status of “crone” as she transitions from middle to old age, keeping plastic surgeons busy.

Is it any wonder that social conservatives strive to perpetuate heterosexual marriage as a sacred obligation? Is it any wonder that many women find mothering and housework to be a desirable alternative to competition in the workplace, either as workers or professionals trying to balance the multiple demands of home and work, all the while fearing that husbands will “work late” with presumably more attractive women?

No one is free of some misogyny, unless s/he has worked through ambivalent relations with Mother. As more and more women gained status in the modern world, the rage against MOM became overt for reasons I outlined here (https://clarespark.com/2015/05/09/monster-moms/).

Second, on gay marriage: No other issue, other than abortion, has aroused so many negative emotions in persons of “faith.” I have known gay men and lesbians ever since the 1970s, and have never seen a gay relationship that was free of similar power struggles common to heterosexual relationships. (https://clarespark.com/2013/03/27/power-in-gay-andor-heterosexual-attachments/.)

It has been the contention of this website that all human relationships are problematic and ambivalent, and that no amount of religious conviction can erase the difficulties between even non-sexual contacts. Yet, social conservatives continue to live in denial, imagining that sex-role polarization within the heterosexual family (fathers are the warriors, providers, and disciplinarians, while mothers offer an unconditional love that may be associated with Jesus, hence his notorious “feminization” in the 19th century) can solve the problems of unemployment and illegitimacy in urban minority communities. (This issue is apparently too hot to handle, see https://clarespark.com/2015/08/08/the-moynihan-report-march-1965-and-instability-in-the-black-family/, one of my least read blogs).

hc-christ-sacredheart21

I admit to being androgynous, like many other writers or artists, for I do not concede to males a monopoly on intellect, rationality, or insight. When I was in college, my zoology textbook described males as rational and women as irrational; an assumption that I didn’t protest at the time. That was the late 1950’s . Can we move on, please?

gaymarriage

August 14, 2015

The Trump Phenomenon: a triumph or a disaster?

Trump on the stump in Iowa

Trump on the stump in Iowa

[Update 1/9/18: I now view Trump as a moderate who, in some respects, appeals to conservatives, but definitely not a full-blown fascist, despite the efforts of many (authoritarian) liberals to pin that label on him; their “psychiatric” efforts to make him “unstable” and hence unfit for office, echo postwar diagnoses of Hitler-the-madman.]

[Update 3-16-16: Read this carefully. Trump’s position on Israel has been distorted by his rivals. He has said that he would like to see peace in the Middle East but that it would be the “toughest negotiation” ever. No signs of anti-Semitism in my view, but rather unrealistic views of “Palestinian” objectives.]

[Update 3-10-16: I didn’t compare Trump to Hitler here, but as a populist and nationalist, his campaign did resonate in some respects with the Strasser brothers. I want to distance myself from liberals and even conservatives who are calling him a Nazi. I  have thought of taking this down owing to inevitable mis-readings; I am now supporting him because I believe that the system is terminally corrupt, and that he will be an improvement over Hillary. A reminder: I am an Independent and a scholar, not an ideologue.]

[Update 12-12-15: I agree with David Horowitz that if Trump’s ban on all Muslims entering the US  (temporarily) is unconstitutional, the GOP should find a Constitutional proposal to prevent more terror. (I hope I got that right.]

[Update 10-15-15: I would be very unhappy if this blog was used by anarchists or lefties for anti-Trump propaganda. After seeing the Democrat debate 10-13, it is that party that more closely resembles fascism (for the S. A. was always populistic, hence anti-Semitic). Trump has since been less vague about his policy objectives, and, in my view, is clearly superior to any Democrat, especially Hillary Clinton, the most likely to win the Donkey nomination.]

[Update 9-19-15]: Since writing this, several arguments might be added to my  argument that Trump’s followers resemble the populist members of the S.A. under Hitler. 1. The appeal to national greatness was deployed by Hitler after the defeat in WW1. His followers, many of them humble and feeling crowded out by other rising groups, may long for vicarious “greatness”; 2. Hitler was a Pan-Germanist, calling for an all German-speaking unity. Trump’s nativism echoes such grandiloquent notions; 3. Hitler lifted Germany out of the Depression by remilitarizing, defying the terms of the Versailles settlement. Similarly, Trump calls for a massive military expenditure, which can only raise the fantasy of more jobs for the unemployed and semi-employed; and 4. Trump lies a lot. His mob followers are as cynical as he is. (End update)].

Even Fox News Channel can’t make up its collective mind over Donald Trump’s candidacy. Hannity loves him and O’Reilly subtly pushes him, while Charles Krauthammer, their most respected pundit, doesn’t take him all that seriously (though that may change).

I do.

For most of my adult life I have studied the influence of fascism in Europe and America, in all its manifestations. While others castigate Trump as a bully, a fraud, a celebrity tied to mass culture, a narcissistic businessman allied with dubious companies (such as ACN, see page one story in WSJ (8-14-15), I agree with my son-in-law who nailed him as a street fighter and a primitive. I go even further, for he reminds me of a parody of masculinity, but more, the S.A., Hitler’s populist Brownshirts, led by the Strasser brothers, who made trouble throughout the 1920s and early 30s until they were [partially] purged in The Night of the Long Knives, June 30, 1934, an event that led William E. Dodd, the US Ambassador to Hitler’s Germany, resign his post. (https://clarespark.com/2011/08/14/review-in-the-garden-of-beasts-by-erik-larson/.)

Although propagandists and even historians emphasize “the Nazi seizure of power” the better scholars emphasize Hitler’s coalition with monarchists and conservatives opposed to the social democratic Weimar Republic. Hitler was appointed Chancellor by President Paul von Hindenburg in order to destroy communism (a communism that today’s Right frequently associates with the Democratic Party), and the 1933 elections were no Nazi landslide, but garnered only 43.91% of the vote (almost the same plurality that elected Bill Clinton). For my blog on how the Democratic Party has absorbed ideas originally associated with Marxist practice, see https://clarespark.com/2012/07/19/communist-ideas-go-mainstream/.

Sturmabteilung poster

Sturmabteilung poster

As for big lying to the public, Trump has already delivered some whoppers. For instance, he takes credit for introducing the subject of illegal immigration, when anyone following the records of other Republican candidates is familiar with how and when the views of Bush and Rubio have been modified regarding amnesty. Similarly, in an interview with Sean Hannity, Trump mentioned “health savings accounts” as if he had just dreamed it up. (Both Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan have supported such accounts, but see the idea’s origins here: http://www.afcm.org/hsahistory.html.)

I have my own suspicions of why so many voters are wowed by The Donald. Noting the popularity of The Godfather, The Sopranos, and lately, the wealthy can-do, know-it-all killer played by James Spader on NBC’s The Blacklist, it is not surprising that another larger-than-life character would suddenly capture the imaginations of many populist voters.

So we now have a choice: creeping fascist/populism on the Left with Hillary Clinton/Sanders/Warren/, or creepy populism on the Right with Donald Trump, our latest Knight in Shining, Glitzy, Armor.

[Update: I now believe that our biggest threat of fascism comes from (welfare statist) social democrats. I still don’t like glitz, but understand its appeal to the child in all of us.]

Trump Tower Atrium, NYC

Trump Tower Atrium, NYC

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