Your “people who read my blog have a higher level of analytical reasoning ability than people who don’t, so you’re just not capable of understanding what I say,” gambit? Are you going to try more posting as a “fan” to tell everyone what a genius you are, and how the rest of us just can’t understand your “enlightened” intellect?
For those of you who don’t know, Scott Adams, creator of cubicle-dweller favorite Dilbert has said some pretty stupid shit. I mean really stupid shit, particularly about women. He’s also spent time on the internet pretending to be a fan of his, and telling everyone how brilliant he is; a habit he also has when he’s not pretending to be someone else. A lot of the stupid shit to come out of his mouth has been related to women, the latest of which can be found over at Comics Alliance.
The comments of the above linked article already include various people claiming that Adams is not linking rape and male instinct, and bleating how much as when Adams said that one should deal with women in the same fashion as one deals with children or the mentally handicapped, Adams is being taken out of context. Well Adams and crew, I have a higher than average level of reading comprehension. I’ve also been trained as a philosopher, and I can smell bullshit at 500 paces.
It is true that Adams never explicitly says, “Rape is a natural male instinct, and those nasty, nasty faminazis shame us for a thing we can’t help.” Because we all know that if someone doesn’t say something explicitly then they couldn’t possibly be saying it, right? Right? Hmm… maybe we should look at Adams’ claim through the lens of those analytical thinking skills he says we lack, yes?
Adams starts out by talking about lions, zebras and that whole circle of life they sang about in Lion King. Fine, lions eat zebras, and we shouldn’t really blame either the lions or the zebras, they’re just obeying their natures. In his next paragraph he goes on to talk about various “powerful men” who have been in the news for their naughty behavior. Naughty sexual behaviors like rape, and showing one’s wang on Twitter in particular (not that showing your wang on the net is anything like rape). He claims that blaming and shaming these men is good, that it’s one of the way society keeps order. He almost has a kernel of a point here, but should probably go read Foucault so that he can have some idea of what he’s talking about. In the final of the three paragraphs in question, Adams talks about how men are taught to see their natural urges as shameful things, while women’s natural urges are celebrated. Other people have taken Adams to task for the ignorance and misogyny he has shown with these kinds of comments, so let’s move on to the central, contentious claim around this piece.
We start with a paragraph about natural instincts, move on to a paragraph about blame attached for certain sexual behaviors, and then close with a paragraph about how men’s natural instincts are considered shameful. Now, if we magically read these paragraphs as being entirely independent of one another, sure, we can pretend that Scott Adams is not drawing a link between rape and the natural male instinct. Of course if we do that, we would have to lack anything resembling reading comprehension or analytical thinking skills. Adams’ sentences, and the paragraphs in which they rest, do not have some magic power to divorce themselves from the ideas which surround them. The shit that comes out of Adams’ mouth also does not magically divorce itself from the other shit he has spewed.
Adams’ choice of words, and the way in which he structures his claim make it quite clear that he is in fact linking rape and sexual aggression with male instinct. Any claim to the contrary is at best disingenuous, and at worse an outright lie.
I don’t blame lions for eating zebras, Mr. Adams. However, I do hold you responsible for your own words. I also hold those “round, turgid pegs” responsible for their own actions. Human beings are neither lions nor zebras, but are beings capable of things like reading comprehension and analytical reasoning, even if you yourself show a deficit in those departments. We are capable of showing judgement, and of choosing to act against our impulses. Maybe you should bear that in mind the next time you feel the urge to share some more of the unexamined prejudices you mistake for enlightenment with the rest of us.