Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, November 12, 2003  

It is my plan, beginning next week (time frame to be explained tomorrow), to try to be a better blog citizen. I don't do as much posting about other people's posting as I should. I love getting exposure of other blogs, and what's good for the goose and all that.

Today, a couple of things. Nathan Newman quotes a conservative economist who gives voice to something I've intuited (and therefore blogged on, because what facts do I need when I've got intuition?): many of the new jobs we're seeing reflected in the statistics ain't good jobs. There's a difference.

Only a few of the 116,000 private sector jobs created in October provide good incomes: 6,000 new positions in legal services and accounting--activities that reflect corporations gearing up to protect their top executives from Sarbanes-Oxley.

The remainder of the 116,000 new jobs consist of temps, retail trade, telephone marketing, and fund raising, administrative and waste services, and private education and health services...

Many of the new jobs do not pay enough to support a family. The temp and retail jobs are 40 percent of the total...

Then, via Wampum (happy first anniversary), an interesting debate on masculinity. First, the offending article, by somebody called Kim du Toit (go to Wampum if you want the link--I choose not to juice his stats). It's the usual Michael Savage rant, poorly written, a lot of whining from a guy who doesn't seem to be dealing well with society. (The implicit irony in a long, whining rant about society not being macho always eludes these jokers.) Responding to this is Philosoraptor (one of the best blog names I've heard), with a 6,500-word opus. If nothing else, it makes me delighted to see that my blog looks like a collection of haiku by comparison. The Philosoraptor (with a nom that this Emma Goldman can appreciate: Winston Smith) gets the irony, but instead chooses to riff on something different:

"I'm torn about it also because there is, in fact, an important and true point in the essay. I’d put the point this way: we’re in danger of undervaluing virtues like courage and self-reliance that are traditionally thought of as masculine. Now, I’d add—though du Toit might not--that for almost all of human history we’ve done just the reverse, undervaluing virtues like kindness and cooperation that are traditionally thought of as feminine.

I'm not sure I agree. While there's ample evidence to support a thesis of the feminization of culture, there's ample evidence to support just about anything. We exist in the age of analysis (not, probably, information), and every idea has its day, every meme its moment. The feminization theory is one of the more potent because its promoted across the vast right-wing conspiracy.

But let's think a moment. That same right-wing network uses violent didactism as its discourse. Even the women, like Coulter, leer and lunge. Their very language is the language of hyper-masculine agression. Meantime, America's invaded two countries in the past two years, and has increasingly adopted Darwinian models of social policy. I find it rather absurd that in 2003, of all years, I'm supposed to take seriously the idea of a feminized America.

(Which is not to say that the Philosoraptor's not a great read.)

posted by Jeff | 2:14 PM |
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