In Which I Fulfill My Natural Male Urge To Tell Scott Adams To Suck It
Well, Anthony Weiner resigned last Thursday shortly after his wife got home. I'm betting their conversations bore some resemblance to this....
|From Googum (Click to enlarge)|
....except maybe without the killer robots. And without Thor.
We've had a few high-profile scandals involving high-profile men over the past few weeks. Before Weiner, there was also Arnold Schwartzenegger fathering his maid's child out of wedlock and lying about it to his wife for over a decade. We also had Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the IMF, arrested on charges that he sexually assaulted a New York hotel maid. And John Edwards. And John Ensign. And...you get the idea. Guys like this give all of us with the Y chromosome a bad name.
But something else occurs to me: You know what else gives us men a bad name? People who use incidents like this to stereotype all males together.
We've been bombarded with articles asking "What makes powerful men act like pigs?" and "Why do men cheat?" Many in the media act as if it's these figures' maleness which is the problem instead of their individual lapses in judgement. Yeah, that's gotta be it. The reason that we see many more male politicians than female politicians involved in these sex scandals couldn't possibly be that there are vastly more male politicians in office, period, could it? Nah! Gotta be that damn testosterone!
Granted, on the overall grievance scale, that's relatively low, compared to murder, torture, rape, and other serious atrocities, or even many lesser injustices, for that matter. But after a certain point it can still become as annoying as hell.
What's much worse, though, is when guys like "Dilbert" creator Scott Adams actually post idiotic rationalizations like this.
Adams' post is wrong on a near-infinite number of levels. (Note: I have everything written by Adams below in blue italics.)
Let's start with his opening paragraph:
If you have a round peg that doesn’t fit in a square hole, do you blame the peg or the hole? You probably blame neither. We don’t assign blame to inanimate objects. But you might have some questions about the person who provided you with these mismatched items and set you up to fail.
OK, first of all, the correct analogy is a square peg in a round hole. Because a round peg would slip into a square hole of similar diameter pretty seamlessly. Fitting a square peg into a round hole of similar diameter, on the other hand, is impossible because of the corners on the former. For a guy whose entire claim to fame is a comic strip about an engineer, that's a pretty blatant thing to miss.
But it gets worse:
If a lion and a zebra show up at the same watering hole, and the lion kills the zebra, whose fault is that? Maybe you say the lion is at fault for doing the killing. Maybe you say the zebra should have chosen a safer watering hole. But in the end, you probably conclude that both animals acted according to their natures, so no one is to blame. However, if this is your local zoo, you might have some questions about who put the lions with the zebras in the same habitat.
First of all, I've got a bad feeling whom he's intending the "lion" and "zebra" to represent.
Second, do you know what lions and zebras have in common? They're both goddamn animals! They're both completely ruled by their biological instincts. Humans, on the other hand, are not so limited. We have options. More complex thought processes. Choices. Technology. Quite frankly, we, both men and women, are more advanced than animals. Animals didn't create art, science, literature, religion, government, and music, among other things. Animals didn't create the Internet.
Here are some more of Adams' "pearls of wisdom":
Now consider human males. No doubt you have noticed an alarming trend in the news. Powerful men have been behaving badly, e.g. tweeting, raping, cheating, and being offensive to just about everyone in the entire world. The current view of such things is that the men are to blame for their own bad behavior. That seems right. Obviously we shouldn’t blame the victims. I think we all agree on that point. Blame and shame are society’s tools for keeping things under control.
The part that interests me is that society is organized in such a way that the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable. In other words, men are born as round pegs in a society full of square holes. Whose fault is that? Do you blame the baby who didn’t ask to be born male? Or do you blame the society that brought him into the world, all round-pegged and turgid, and said, “Here’s your square hole”?
Again with the square holes! Repeat after me, Scott: Square peg, round hole. Jesus! There was even a TV series, for God's sake!
Even worse, he makes the same offensive mistake made by many of those man-bashing articles I mentioned above: He actually conflates rape and extramarital sex. Conflating rape and sex, period, indicates an extremely poor understanding of both.
Also, I must have nodded off a lot during my history classes, because I missed the parts where all our major civilizations were dominated by powerful matriarchies that unilaterally imposed all those oppressive "don't rob and rape and sexually abuse and murder" laws on our poor unwilling menfolk. Those womenfolk must have been very powerful and influential, especially in the good ol' US of A, where they got the right to vote a mere 144 years after the Declaration of Independence was written. Now, that's power!
And I also must have snoozed through history class the day we learned that women unilaterally invented marriage, too.
But I obviously didn't sleep through Psych 101 on the day the instructor explained "projection", because I can see that Adams is doing plenty of it here. All natural male instincts are bad, Scott? What about the nobler ones like the instinct to protect and defend? Those same instincts that might have compelled them to create all those "oppressive" laws in the first place? You seem to have left those out of the equation, Scott.
He actually does raise one valid point, in the same way that even a stopped clock can get the correct time twice a day: A lot of people do see gender relations in terms of a simplistic black-and-white "female good, male bad" dynamic. But rather than dispel that misguided belief, Adams actually reinforces it.
The way society is organized at the moment, we have no choice but to blame men for bad behavior. If we allowed men to act like unrestrained horny animals, all hell would break loose. All I’m saying is that society has evolved to keep males in a state of continuous unfulfilled urges, more commonly known as unhappiness. No one planned it that way. Things just drifted in that direction.
Right, Scott, all those rules and laws just happened magically.
But you can't accuse Adams of not providing any real-life examples of his theories:
Consider Hugh Hefner. He had every benefit of being a single man, and yet he decided he needed to try marriage. Marriage didn’t work out, so he tried the single life again. That didn’t work out, so he planned to get married again, although reportedly the wedding just got called off. For Hef, being single didn’t work, and getting married didn’t work, at least not in the long run. Society didn’t offer him a round hole for his round peg. All it offered were unlimited square holes.
Hugh Hefner? Come on, Scott! Using Hugh friggin' Hefner as your example of a poor beleaguered everyman? REALLY??
I also notice Adams fails to explain what his idea of a "round hole" in Hef's situation would be. Maybe that's for the best!
And, for the last time? SQUARE PEG!!! ROUND HOLE!!! SQUARE.....ahh, screw it. Continue, Scott:
To be fair, if a man meets and marries the right woman, and she fulfills his needs, he might have no desire to tweet his meat to strangers. Everyone is different. But in general, society is organized as a virtual prison for men’s natural desires. I don’t have a solution in mind. It’s a zero sum game. If men get everything they want, women lose, and vice versa. And there’s no real middle ground because that would look like tweeting a picture of your junk with your underpants still on. Some things just don’t have a compromise solution.
Aw, is it really that bad for you, Scott?
Long term, I think science will come up with a drug that keeps men chemically castrated for as long as they are on it. It sounds bad, but I suspect that if a man loses his urge for sex, he also doesn’t miss it. Men and women would also need a second drug that increases oxytocin levels in couples who want to bond. Copulation will become extinct. Men who want to reproduce will stop taking the castration drug for a week, fill a few jars with sperm for artificial insemination, and go back on the castration pill.
You mean the only reason women ever want to have sex is for reproduction? Yeah, Scott, because we all know that men are the only ones who have sexual urges, right? Because all those affairs men have are either nonconsensual, or with other guys, or with androids, right? Same goes for premarital sex, correct? Stupid me, I must've dozed off a lot during Sex Ed, too!
That might sound to you like a horrible world. But the oxytocin would make us a society of huggers, and no one would be treated as a sex object. You’d have no rape, fewer divorces, stronger friendships, and a lot of other advantages. I think that’s where we’re headed in a few generations.
Sounding pretty bleak there, Debbie Downer!
There's always another option, though. The one where we, both men and women, actually exercise our free will and not cave in like a cheap garage-sale card table to our every instinct or impulse like animals.
The problem with drivel like Adams' post and others like it is in the ramifications. Rapists and other violent criminals, for example, use stuff like this to rationalize their own behaviors. If they view themselves as the lions and others, like women, as the zebras, it's easier to make up excuses like "the
And even in the case of lesser consensual sexual offenses, the cost is still high: Shattered marriages, divorces, broken homes. Quite a swath of destruction.
And in the case of both rape and less serious offenses like infidelity, this misconception about males can create some lesser but still significant problems for men as well. It erodes trust of men, sometimes to an unfair degree, creating an atmosphere leading to things like this.
Here's the situation: I'm a man. I don't cheat on my wife. I don't rape women, sexually molest children, or rob and murder people, nor do I get any urges to. But to hear people like Adams, I and other men like me are some kind of substandard neutered beta-male anomaly. The exceptions to the rule. But we often feel like saying something like this:
We usually don't say it of course. But we do think it.
So, Mr Adams, allow me to indulge my natural male urge to tell you to suck it!
(Who says I don't keep my promises?)