Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lunatics and Idiots

In her book on Yugoslavia, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, Rebecca West writes,

Idiocy is the female defect: intent on their private lives, women follow their fate through a darkness deep as that cast by malformed cells in the brain. It is no worse than the male defect, which is lunacy: they are so obsessed by public affairs that they see the world as by moonlight, which shows the outlines of every object but not the details indicative of their nature.
I think West is onto something here. Women don’t do the lunatic things men do. Women don’t climb a clock tower with a rifle and shoot people. Women don’t kill people and eat them like Jeffrey Dahmer. The male defect is lunacy -- not a controversial statement in contemporary culture because feminists have been saying this for decades.

But let’s look at the more controversial half of West’s idea. The female defect is idiocy. My day job involves listening to FM radio stations across America. I listen to different morning shows every week. Few are interesting, but the worst ones are the shows aimed at female listeners. The banality is mind-numbing. The shows talk about relationships, diets, TV shows, Brad and Angelina and Jennifer and Vince and Tom and Katie. Some shows run daily horoscopes. It’s embarrassing.

Alternative rock shock jocks explore more abstract topics, if just to make fart jokes about them. Even Howard Stern, when he is not talking about his penis, goes deeper.

Women gave us the presidency of Bill Clinton. I was dumbfounded once by a Democrat woman who told me she was emotionally moved when Clinton said, “I feel your pain.” My mouth fell open. How could anyone take such a sappy, phony statement seriously? If Clinton really “felt my pain,” then he would do as John Galt advised, and get out of the way. Getting out of the way was not the Clinton philosophy of government.

But Bill Clinton was a shrewder politician than I could ever be. He knew his audience. He was talking to women.

My point is not that women are metaphysically inferior to men. I subscribe to a philosophy conceived by a woman -- a woman whom I consider to be an epochal genius. The paragraph above that inspired this post was written by a woman. However, there is something in the female nature -- perhaps child-bearing -- that makes women a bit more prone than men to narrowing their field of interest to domestic concerns. William Blake saw the world in a grain of sand; some women look at the world, but can only see the grain of sand that is their domestic life.

Lunacy and idiocy. (In philosophic terms, that probably means men are more given to rationalism, whereas women are more given to empiricism.) Fortunately for mankind, there is a third alternative to which both sexes can aspire: maintaining an active mind.

1 comment:

D Eastbrook said...

I agree with your observations. It makes me marvel at the phenomenon of Ayn Rand. Not only did she challenge 2500 years of bad philosophy, but she, as a woman, was the champion of reason!