Friday, June 12, 2015

Shut up, they explained

May God preserve us from the sanctimony of the socially progressive. I think the big hurdle so many of us (white, male etc) have when it comes to the whole social justice thing is that we're so obviously not invited to what's clearly a private party. There's an old gag that the right looks for converts and the left looks for traitors. Bear that in mind when having a look at this manifesto for straight white men (written in a sort of painful what-hoery reminiscent of someone who learned English by reading Dornford Yates).
The decorum here is simple: A gentleman never explains. If someone asks you to explain, ask them if they are sure, then proceed with both caution and brevity. Nobody likes a bore! If you can’t sum it up in a sentence or two, politely decline and ask them instead to download a Google.
Because mansplaining obviously. I'm slightly baffled at the idea that if someone asks you to explain something to you, the polite thing to do is to tell them to look it up themselves.
A gentleman should be seen and not heard. This is not a criticism; rather, sound advice! Should you find yourself at a forum where queries are invited from the crowd, never ask a question. If you have a query, wait! Someone else may ask it. Staying silent in public offers many advantages. You’ll avoid embarrassment, and your silence invites questions!
Your input is not welcome here (that is, anywhere).
Face it, chaps: We, as a demographic, have been really quite terrible to other genders, races, and sexual orientations over the millennia, and they have a right to be jolly miffed! This may sound foolish after having always been encouraged to speak your mind, but the best course of action is silence. An outburst is akin to a guilty man telling all and sundry “I’m innocent” when the blighter was caught red-handed. Such protest is unbecoming! Here’s an idea: Listen instead! Lend an ear, lend a retweet. Steel yourself, and quietly accept they don’t mean you. Not always, at least. Because the truth is – and you might want to brace yourself here – sometimes they do mean you!
So don’t tweet that reply. Don’t leave that comment. Don’t start a sentence with “but” or “well, actually”. Don’t say the obvious joke. Don’t try to score points! (I don’t know much about sportsball, but scoring one goal against a team that have scored many doesn’t make you the winner!) Not voicing an opinion is the right answer more often than not, especially in matters that don’t concern you, e.g. women’s bodies, LGBT bodies, black and brown bodies.
The thing is is that I'm actually quite a progressive, feminist sort of chap. I do more of the childcare and all of the cooking. I'm the one that leaves work early to sort out the kids. I try and be as supportive as I possibly can be of my wife's career. But I'm not going to accept that my role in life is to look pretty and shut up. Because that's a shit demand to make of anybody, let alone an entire sex. All of us have the right to speak, just as all of us have the right not to listen. And if the entire policy of the socially progressive left is that I shouldn't exercise my right to speak, then I'll also exercise my right not to listen to it.

Boo-hoo, I'm sure they're all saying. Refill my cup of male tears. But (oh dear, starting a sentence with 'but') the point is not that they should be listening to me or to anybody else in particular. I have two kids and a spaniel, I'm entirely used to not being listened to. The point is more that by making it so clear that they have no interest in engaging with me or anyone like me, they make the idea of engaging with them so very unappealing that one wonders how on earth they ever manage to persuade anybody that they're right. I used to be a big fan of Red Dwarf, but I'm surprised that people think Rimmer is a role model for politeness in conversation.

Lighten up, friend. Laugh! Live! Frolic in the fields of curiosity and wonder! We are here but for a limited time, what is life if not to be enjoyed!
Just as long as you do it quietly...


Blogger Recusant said...

In our brave new Gnostic world, the world of 'Caitlyn' Jenner, Rachel Dolezal and the immolation of Sir Tim Hunt, it is going to take some serious reactionaries being seriously reactionary to slow it down. Progressive, I'm not: I don't actually know what the word means and I certainly don't want to have it defined for me by various Pollys, Zoes and Owens.

In the Gnostics Humpty-Dumpty zeitgeist, where words mean what they want them to mean - where gender is a synonym for sex and race is simultaneously a cultural construct and an objective fact - the idea that we are of the world, of nature, and part of the animal order is now to be considered outrageously offensive. Up with that I will not put!

11:52 am  

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