Don’t Feed the Parrots? Or, On Spinning and Spiraling, Part 2. Or, On Cargo Cults, Part 2. Trigger Warning: Monty Python October 16, 2012Posted by FCM in feminisms, logic, meta, thats mean, thats random.
Tags: mary daly, monty python
in light of recent discussions, it occurs to me to talk about merit-based systems (among other things). many of us are not used to a merit-based system, because that is fundamentally not how patriarchal systems work. many women get up every day and do their best impersonation of a worthy, competent human being — meaning they try to impersonate “good women” or men the best they can — and go to work, or out in the world generally and try to get things done, but most of us have realized by now that at the end of the day, life aint fair if you were born female under patriarchy.
its not about what you do, or even about who you know, or even about “who” you are, but what you are that will determine whether you win or lose (if you are female, you lose. end of. read more about women impersonating men and male rituals in the context of cargo-cultism and the post-hoc-ergo-propter-hoc logical fallacy here — really, its fascinating.)
in short, male success and male reality are not based on either the merits of their work or the objective truth of their beliefs. generally speaking, men can shuffle papers around all day, looking busy but not doing much, and look at porn on their work computers in their spare time — porn, the perfect illustration of male truth-telling about men while lying about women — and somehow they manage to get paid, promoted, elected and respected anyway. somehow, (somehow!) they end up being put in charge of things including monitoring and judging others behavior, or charged with keeping us all safe…
its a boys club out there. a non-merit non-truth based system, or overlapping systems. we know this. this model does not generally work for women, but we keep trying vainly to make it work anyway…
enter…the girls club? or something? (srsly, what the hell is this? read the comments) completely without regard for the merits of anyones work, the objective truth of their statements, or the radicalness of their alleged radicalism, anyone spouting daly quotes or claiming to be a woman or a radical feminist gets in the door, no questions
asked allowed? really? we are creating a non-merit non-truth based system, why again? because it works so well for women generally? because we dont know what else to do? or…what?
the thing about radical feminism — unlike anything men try to do — is that it actually makes sense mkay. this sense-making operates on 2 levels — one is the mathematical level, in that our “proofs” actually work, and are logical and “true” in the mathematical sense. we do not “argue” we demonstrate. we do not “debate” as much as we debunk. this is how and why we are able to draw logical proofs and flow charts and are generally able to show our work. its because we are right, and obviously so. its a matter of naming the agent, and wiping away the patriarchal cobwebs, mindbindings, doublethink and reversals to reveal whats been there all along.
radical feminist sense-making also operates on an intuitive level, or something like it…our words resonate with women because of our shared experience as women. we believe that there is such a thing, and beyond that, we are right — there is. and because of this shared experience, on an intuitive level or partially intuitive level (read: the learned survival mechanisms all slaves have, and perhaps with something genetic thrown in, in case evolution itself has been affected by millenia of patriarchy or by our being subjected to the brutal realities of animal mating behaviors even longer) our words generally do not go “clunk” as they hit the dirt. far from it — our words cause sparking and spiraling inside other women. we know this is true. so believe it. believe your eyes.
now, i will grant you that the second (intuitive) “test” of radical feminist material might be more fallible than the first — by contrast, mathematical proofs are notoriously reliable, which is the entire point, and if your proof is debunked you must concede that you were wrong because its made obvious through another proof — but which one has probably saved more womens lives and asses across time and place? its not the math. when something sounds “off”, or doesnt resonate or whatever, it is evidence of something. evidence, not proof. and we are entitled, as thinking persons, to make reasoned conclusions based on credible evidence. like….that the person spewing it isnt really a radical feminist.
and beyond that, spewing male-centrism — including liberal feminism under any guise — is boring mkay. it just is. i might even go further and say its RUDE. its RUDE for writers to put their audiences to sleep like that…please dont do it…
anyway, we all know better than to feed trolls by now — but might i also suggest that we refrain from feeding parrots as well? in this context, a “parrot” is a person who has nothing original or interesting to say at all, and who simply offers decontextualized or misplaced quotes from classic radfem texts (or parrots blogs, or parrots other peoples comments from blogs) to show any number of things (or to cause thought-termination) and where such quotes are notably *not* offered as a teaching tool or jumping-off place from which we are all invited to spark and spiral. you know the type. do not feed these people with your attention — ignore them.
for what its worth, mary daly didnt appreciate parrots either, and upon learning that women were merely parroting her work, she cited it as evidence that unfortunately, then, those women didnt understand a damn thing she had said, or radical feminism at all for that matter. im paraphrasing from here. parrots can very easily be men, too. because all you have to do to be a parrot is buy a book. you dont even have to read or understand it — and men do neither.
instead, might i suggest that we adopt a merit- and truth-based approach in general: the proof of anyones radicalism is in the pudding. show, dont tell. write something radical, and lets talk about it. dont name drop, dont vouch for other womens radicalism — say something radical, and you will be seen to be a radical feminist. where (oh where?) have we gotten this bizarre notion that the merits of anyones work are irrelevant and the truth doesnt matter? (or alternatively, how has this become so reversed, where the merits are mistakenly believed to matter in some instances, and are also mistakenly believed *not* to matter in others?) why is it ok to have muddy thinking and reversals pollute or comprise our movement? this movement specifically i mean — radical feminism. this playing loosey-goosey with
the rules ideology doesnt happen everywhere. thats important.
TL;DR version: i like my feminism how i like my coffee — merit based. our safety and our movement depend on it. thank you.
PS. monty python clip to illustrate just HOW boring male-centrism and liberal feminism are. also, words have meaning. enjoy!