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August 27, 2013

Slate's Double-X Dummies Embarrass Themselves Again

The funny thing is, even Slate's readers -- who are themselves very liberal -- are revolted by the stupidity.

@johnekdahl thinks this is a deliberate attempt to get links by writing shit that's so ducking fumb that people like me have to link it. I've floated that theory before myself, about Slate's egregious article claiming that an AP story about a woman who fell from a building was Slut-Shaming You Guys.

This is actually a real technique: The Daily Mail, I think, put that non-beautiful woman up to writing about how beautiful she was. They knew that would get a reaction.

So here were are again, and Slate is embarrassing itself yet again, in the hopes of collecting some links.

Well there you go. Are you happy?

What is the article about? Well, it's a response to an article (of course it's a response to an article; God forbid one of these ninnies write something on their own initiative, instead of being forever reactionaries) that was published in the New York Times celebrating the uses of quiet in life, how quiet aids one in thinking, how it helps one maintain a balance and calm, and so on.

I have not read it and don't plan to because no one has to sell me on the benefits of a round of cold crisp Shut Up Juice for the house.

Her response? What a horrible attack on women. #WarOnWomen.

Yes that's right, she's sort of right there saying "Women are Super Loud and Noisy and Never Shut Up and Can Never Get to the Point of a Story!"

But it's okay for her to say that, because she's An Feminist, and she's claiming being a loud, caterwauling whiner is some sort of positive contribution to society.

And yet. Something off-putting lurks behind Prochnik’s whole Mr. Darling “a little less noise there” routine. Maybe it’s just that the expectation that one can work in pin-drop quiet feels very … male, or at least alien to a lot of women’s experience.

She then talks about how women are expected to do their jobs at their jobs n stuff.

I detect a strong whiff of resentment about that, but whatever, read it for yourself.

Prochnik opens his piece by quoting the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who believed “a great mind can have great thoughts only if all its powers of concentration are brought to bear on one subject, in the same way that a concave mirror focuses light on one point.” Noise disperses focus, disrupting the formation of ideas. Fine. Yet any “great mind” in Schopenhauer’s philosophizing by necessity belongs to a man. In his 1851 polemic On Women, the thinker isolates rationality as the quality peculiar to men; women “are childish, silly and short-sighted, in a word big children.” (Sidebar: “Big children” is two words.)

Sidebar: this tangent is irrelevant.

Did you catch that? The author quoted Schopenhauer for the proposition that silence is a pleasure and then she linked a different Schopenhauer piece saying Mean Things About Girls!!! (footystomp) and then declared Quietude = #WarOnWomen.

I thought I would explain that to you because it is so strained and twisted some of you probably couldn't follow that without hurting your brains with illogic.

Prochnik’s second historical example, after Schopenhauer, involves Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter narrating how “the men whose labors brought forth the Constitution of the United States had the street outside Independence Hall covered with earth so that their deliberations might not be disturbed by passing traffic.” A true and resonant detail! But it’s also one dude quoting another dude describing a bunch of dudes seeking to carve out a tranquil dude-space in which dudes’ rights could be secured across the country. Sausagefest aside, you get the sense a group of founding mothers would maybe just shut the windows.

Yup. Close the windows firmly shut against the noise. Seal it up tight. Jam wadding in the sills.

In the summer. In Philadelphia. Capital idea, Genius.

Whoshe a shmart girl? Youshe a shmart girl! Yesh you are! Yesh you are!

See the "How Terribly Embarrassing" Update at Post's End.

“The quiet in Independence Hall was not the silence of a monastic retreat,” Prochnik writes. “It was a silence that made them [the “men whose labors … ” etc] more receptive to the sound of the world around them.” Not quite. The world around them was muffled by all that dirt. Playing out the metaphor, while the constitutional convention accomplished wonderful things, must we pretend it did a great job amplifying all marginalized voices? Some serious silencing was still going on.

Let me point out once again that Sex & the City had done terrible things to women, from promoting "Have Sex Like a Man!" promiscuity in very young girls, to telling women that the pinnacle of discourse is Carrie Bradshaw's twee chicklit burblings.

I guess that’s my problem with Prochnik’s otherwise excellent article. History is littered with instances of white men thoughtlessly asking (or forcing) people who are not white men to shut up.

You know, I don't want to be the guy who says "Hitler did it," but Hitler was known to be quite the shushyface in his day.

It just feels jarring to read a male author use the words of other male authors to extol the virtues of silence. Either Prochnik shouldn’t place such a high premium on quiet, or, if he must have a hushed, pristine bubble in which to think great thoughts, he should retreat to a highbrow man cave and let the rest of us live in and contribute to the sound of the world around us.


As I said before: Connoisseurship. If what she were saying were true, it would probably be obvious, and a connoisseur does not get compliments for recognizing things which are obvious. Yes, the wine is dry, but anyone could have said that; the connoisseur, if he seeks to impress, will have say something unexpected and preferably nonsensical, like "The wine is dry, and yet, at the same time, rather wet in its dryness; a rather moist sort of dry."

So there you go. According to Slate, Serious You Guys anyone speaking of the benefits of quiet Hates Women, #WarOnWomen You Guys, and furthermore, Serious You Guys, women need to put a sock in it or something.


Embarrassing.

I can't say this is a new low because, frankly, the other one was really far stupider. At least this silly blogpost referenced an article that may be interesting to some, brought up an interesting anecdote about the drafting of the Constitution (here's another interesting fact: It's hot in the summer), and mentioned Schopenhauer.

And yet, still very, very embarrassing.

I never doubt the equality of the sexes until I read Feminists.


How Terribly Embarrassing: The windows in fact were closed -- nailed shut, in fact -- as a privacy issue.

So she was wrong to suggest that as something they could have done (they did it), and I was wrong to say that the couldn't have done it, for the heat.

At least this seems to be the lore. I sort of doubt all the windows were shut. Maybe the first-level windows were nailed shut.

I'm having a hard time believing that you seal all the windows in the summer in Philadelphia.

You just can't have a hundred guys in the room, in the summer, working by candlelight (and candles do pump out heat), with no ventilation.

Nevermind the wigs and the ten layers of jackets and frilly shirts.

Unless they were porting in ice or something. Which isn't inconceivable, I guess.

Thanks to MSYB.


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posted by Ace at 06:09 PM

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