A Critic's Brain Wanders


December 2, 1998

The word "Rorschach" is in my paperback dictionary. I find it interesting that the word describing a scientific attempt to assess subjectivity found its way into popular language. What a critic says about the objects of his criticism informs us most about the critic. Critical essays are Rorschach tests. For example, the novelist, Raymond Chandler, a keen observer of the human condition, was the subject of a "Bravo" television biography. Chandler was perceived as a misogynist by one interviewed specialist--an academic who broadcasts his opinions as if they were fact to his students. I do not agree with that academic's opinion. I assert there is little evidence for the label. I think Chandler watched humanity carefully and described what he observed. There are many aspects of Chandler's life which would auger against such a conclusion even in the absence of reading his novels. Academic guruism is lamentable. Prominent labels should be placed on the access doors to university buildings: "Not necessarily true," and "If taken whole, may cause serious and permanent damage to cognitive function."

From that perspective, I was thinking, recently, about feminists. Feminists appear to hate beautiful women, probably because they aren't--none who show themselves to the world seem to be. They project neither inner beauty nor outer; surely no inner peace. They try to become men, to emulate whom they fear*--those men who adore and elevate the beautiful ones. Feminists trade for their new womanity a hard-won prize: their freedom. Freedom and their singularity, they trade these for a disordered and incorrect assessment of man's role in society.

Men do what they must do; they perform male functions. They rut to the best of their ability. Rutting generates their competitive essence. Those who rut best achieve the highest levels of what society calls "success." The rut achieves its goal. As is the case in all other species, the goal is a bonding. The bond is sexual mating in non-humans, marriage or its cognate in humans. The man must perform his role. The woman does the choosing. That role is no different now than it has been since the dawn of creatures; males are chosen to protect the nest. They make money, they work, they do, they rationalize a behavior that generates, in exchange, a portable medium-of-exchange: Dollars, Franks, Deutschmarks. That's all there is to it. It boils to this from any vantage point.

What would a woman want with that kind of behavior, male behavior? Why would she willingly trade qualities and advantages of her womanhood, qualities generally envied by men? Man's advantages are illusory. Unless a man becomes an icon of an industrial or military complex, almost every male act is compromise and obeisance. For example, I am a physician. There was a recent time when being a physician carried with it something magical, surely individual and unique. That has changed radically. The law was at one time a profession of value to society. Lawyers, whose numbers have proliferated like cancer cells, have bloated to a number where they represent an aberrance of behavior akin to blood cells out of control. Their numbers are at least a sign of societal disease and at worst are the malignancy that will tear society's soul. To attest the thought processes of a lawyer, we need look no further than our current President and note how he tends to distinguish between legality and honesty. The lawyer's mischief has forced every doctor/patient decision to consider first its legal consequences. Thus, there will not be, in the US, bright medical lights who will break-away from the pack, perform their genius and lead us towards new gains. Instead, everyone, under this peculiar modern construct, is deemed equal--nay everyone requires equal status. The pronouncement of a few self-designated experts, becomes legalistic, junk-science 'truth'--a result of the strange combine of lawyer/insurance company/State/Federal Government/and hospital. Such experts are merely another version of the academy; it is a stone-age structure which tends to embrace entropy, to ossify.

Today, I was in my laundry room removing clean laundry from the dryer, folding it and placing it in neat piles. I had a good feeling about what I was doing and saw it as a moment of true creativity, of freedom to something exactly as I chose to do it. That brought me to think about the evening before. I had invited to dinner a friend, my piano teacher, whose wife was in Europe. I considered the joy I felt creating the meal, of making it exactly what I wanted it to be. I immersed myself in the feeling of freedom I obtained from doing it. In cleaning-up and washing the dishes, I had the same experience. I contrasted that to my day-to-day activities in what are classically considered to be a masculine domain. The contrast was sharp, like a joke. The creativity and freedom women have always owned is something they completely misread (or were led to misread) as unfair obligations. Instead, they opt for male experiences, plainly genetically-determined obligations. They become sports stars, in spite of the fact "sports" is the very essence of male rutting. They become lawyers, the epitome of testosterone-driven embattlement and argument. The feminists have exfeminated themselves and grafted testicular function to their sex organs.

When Camus examined the meaning of the Myth of Sisyphus, he concluded that short moments of freedom--like those I experienced today and yesterday, are the most we can expect from life. I find it a calamity that women have chosen to expunge this great gift from their lives.

*(fear = Gr. heke "hate" until the 12th century.)