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Kim Thompson on the Radical Feminism of Scott Adams
posted June 17, 2011
The funny thing about Scott Adams's latest gender-issues "outrage" is that, as at least one person in his blog's comments section points out, it's basically a radical-feminist argument; Valerie Solanas might have written more or less the same... or any feminist who's floated the idea that more female heads of state would mean fewer wars. (Apparently it doesn't work for Secretaries of State, though.)
The problem is that Adams is, as always, icily descriptive and aggressively, inhumanly value-neutral, leading everyone to pour his or her own emotional interpretations into the hard, cold glass of his thought experiment. I'm not sure who in the comments section repel me more: the humorless "there are some things you don't joke about" scolds or the gloating, reactionary "see, this is where political correctness has gotten us" claque.
If the internet had existed in the 18th century, Jonathan Swift's blog comments section would have been evenly split between outraged complaints that "infanticide and cannibalism are no laughing matter" and "Yeah, fuck those Irish bastards."
Not that I mean to put Adams in the same league as Swift, I hasten to add. (Swift drew better, for one thing.) Or that Adams's comments were necessarily ironic in the way Swift was.
Then again, I thought Lars Von Trier's infamous Cannes "Yes, I am a Nazi" comments were funny in context (and actually in no way intended as, or readable as --by any sentient human being with a sense of irony or context, meaning 2%, maybe 3% of journalists-- a statement that he was in any way whatsoever actually a Nazi, or sympathetic to that ideology) so maybe I'm just out of sync with what passes for outrageous today.
I do think nowadays everyone has a little moral piggybank and if you publicly express moral outrage at someone else's opinions or deeds or works, you collect a little morality coin and he loses one of his. (It's rarely "she," isn't it?) The FOX News channel is the head bank of this kind of thing, admittedly followed closely by MSNBC. The clinking and clanking on and around Adams's website, spreading to the rest of the internet, is deafening.
Please note: At no point in this response do I say or suggest whether I agree or disagree with Adams's post, by the way. Or whether I think he's an asshole or not.
Or whether the two opinions are necessarily related.