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January 24, 2005

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La Lubu

I think your speaking voice is good! (But I know what you mean....I hate the sound of my voice on tape too....I only hear the flaws. Must be human nature.)

Radio might be a fast-moving medium, but the frequent commercial interruptions were a real pain in the culiddu. There was postively no room for real arguments and/or discussion....the whole show seemed like a vehicle for lucrative commercial breaks to me. Sure, there's an amount of "shock-jock" schtick to the show, but still....I've heard other right-leaning shows with the same level of attention-getting controversy that afforded listeners and guests much more time to get a point across, and develop thoughts a little deeper.

This show was all heat, and no light. I did expect better. Maybe Glenn's happy to take that paycheck home, but I found the show....boring.

djw

I agree with la lubu; he kept the pace and the tone at such a level that it was hard for you (or him!) to say anything that might be persuasive to anyone not already familiar with your basic position and understanding of the underlying facts. Very frustrating, but not unexpected. Under those unfortunate circumstances, I thought you stood up very well.

Am I the only one who was floored by how he followed up your explanation of the function of accusations of homosexuality with a joke that made your point precisely.

Hugo Schwyzer

It was hard to follow that one, djw!

You both are absolutely right that much more could have been said -- I did the best I could under the circumstances.

Now, if I ever get a radio show of my own!

Trish Wilson

I haven't listened to the archive yet, but something someone else said (maybe Amanda) had me wondering. There almost seemed to be more commercials than radio talk, from what I understand. I'll have a better idea when I listen to the show. Is that show really about bringing in advertisers who can ply their trade via the radio show? You know - lawyers who advertise on the air in a sympathetic medium looking for angry male clients they can make money from, etc.?

Hugo Schwyzer

There were tons of those ads. I didn't actually listen to them at the time, because we just chatted in-studio while the ads were running. But from playing it back today, they did seem to be mostly focused on father's issues. You can see Glenn's advertisers if you visit his website.

joe

You really are a nice guy Hugo. To slightly steal from John, if I had to be a liberal, I’d want to be like you—no kidding. I’m somewhat boggled you set through Glenn’s sophomoric behavior. I would not have done it. Was there a contract?

Write the book.

mythago

You'd think a men's-rights activist would be extremely PRO-homosexual. What's up with that?

thisgirl

Apparently, feminists are the ones who hate gays; just go look around standyourground! I've counted about 5 threads with reference to you now Hugo, I'm sensing a slight obsession there...

Not to mention the response on Manpower (from Maus the self-professed misogynist). It's really quite amusing how threatened you make these guys feel Hugo!

I second calls for a book!

NYMOM

Well you took a chance going on the show since everytime someone reaches out honestly to the other side, they make themselves vulnerable...

If how they treated poor Maureen Dowd is any indication, they will treat you miserably precisely BECAUSE you reached out and exposed your inner most thoughts to the other side...

I mean look at how they are laughing and talking about that poor womens' article regarding her lack of a life-long partner...there won't be too many women following up on Dowd's mistake by writing about that area of their lives anytime soon, I can tell you that...

So you did good but don't expect anything GOOD to come out of it...like a little more respect, understanding, patience, etc., towards the other side...Instead, even as a I type, they are over there ripping apart everything about you from your relationship with your father to your friend's lisp...

You give them far more credit I think, then they deserve...so perhaps that makes you better then them...

Ampersand

Although you (Hugo) did a great job, I think the format really pushes all discussions towards shallowness. Glenn (who I actually have a quite good email relationship with) really did seem to respond to almost everything in soundbite or gag form. Plus, the constant flow of phone calls from the audience (my call included) really seemed to cast more heat than light; I would rather the time have been spent on more Glenn-Hugo discussion.

Still, I think the constant wisecracks ("oh, sure, you'd say only 99% of men are dogs, thanks a lot") and phone calls is more enjoyable to a wider range of people than the more academic discussion I would have preferred.

craichead

I'm listening to the show on the web right now and wish I could have caught it in real time to call in. I think a big point that's been missed in what I've heard so far is that there are many involved in men's rights dialogue like myself who find the root of the problem with contemporary feminism lies in a Marxist paradigm. By that I mean, the view that men and women comprise somewhat distinct social classes and where men somehow correspond to Marx's bourgeouisie and women to the proletariat. Many of us see this as simply a destructive paradigm without much resemblance to reality and leading us all down the road to tyranny. In the end we see the irony as being that our daughters will some day emerge into a world of virtual equality of mediocrity and in the end no one will live with the experience of liberty that white men have had so long.

Hugo Schwyzer

craichead, you're right on one level, that Marxism has had a huge influence. Engels was more or less right a century and a half ago on that very point. My qualms about working with Marxists are minor (in addition to that little bit about my evangelical faith). Basically, I've been told one too many times that feminism is a bourgeois distraction from the "real struggle." For that reason -- and others -- most feminists reject simplistic Marxist paradigms.

La Lubu

craic, care to clarify your comment about "equality of mediocrity?" Because how I'm translating that is "if women are allowed into formerly all-male realms...if we allow women to choose their 'place', then we will no longer enjoy excellence, just mediocrity." Or "women are not capable of excellence outside of strictly defined "female" venues."

And I, naturally, call bullshit on that.

djw

Following up on what Hugo just said, it's also worth noting that for many feminists, and lots of others too, Marxism isn't of a piece. It's a collection of empirical views, philosophical assumptions, and analytical tools. You needn't accept all or most of them to get milage out of others. There are certainly academics out there whose research might be called Marxist in some sense, but who are also politically moderate to conservative. It's the analytical tools they want, not the politics.

craichead

On equality of mediocrity: I didnt for one second mean to imply that women will somehow bring down standards -- government will bring down standards is what I'm trying to say. The further we progress with the ideas of class distinction between men and women, the more government gets involved, the more things like affirmative action become involved and the more the vitality of our free will is dulled. I'm not saying that the greater influence of women will dull our vitality, but that the current strategy of continually using legislation and civil court to do the job is what will kill that.

We're living in a time now just like Orwell predicted though not nearly as dramatic. There's a synergy between liberal and conservative going on now wherein each chips away at our basic rights for different reasons and this is what I'm getting at.

La Lubu

Soooo....in other words, you're saying that the government, by forcing employers, schools, and other institutions to accept qualified females (that they were previously allowed to reject, due to anatomy), will bring about inequality? How so? How does opening the field bring about inequality?

craichead

On Marxist paradigm: I think where I'd disagree with what's been said so far is that I think the Marxist paradigm is so deeply entrenched now that it is nearly invisible to most. It seems to me to be ubiquitously dominant in every one of the social sciences.

I found interesting something Hugo said on the show and I can't remember exactly what it was, but something like people in power use their power to dominate those who aren't -- he said it in the context of the view of women as manipulative and that men use patriarchy to dominate.

This is a strong example of what I'm talking about: Bourgeousie = men, proletariat = women, capitalist system = patriarchy. It's deeply entrenched.

But that's not the truism that it's so portrayed to be. Before Marx, the dominant paradigm was the paradigm of stewardship, wherein those in power used their power to serve. Of course the world was never so rosy that it always went that way, but today we define that system by its failure rather than the fact of what it gave us. One of the great advocates of that paradigm in recent history was Lord Acton who was famous for saying, "power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

craichead

Lalubu-

Read it again. I never said it would bring about inequality. I simply think it dulls the vitality of our free will by taking the determination of meaning away from where it should be.

You could look at it like this: Modern humanity lives within three levels of understanding: culture, which arises from the finding of meaning among poeple -- usually at the family level or in voluntary associations of like minded people. Arising from culture is society -- the application of much of this meaning to our roles in life. Arising from these is civilization -- all of our institutions and specializations that allow us to step outside of our prehistoric roles. Now of course it isn't quite that simple since at each stage these things feed back some on each other.

But what we arrive at by using government and civil court to establish a moral view -- like that men and women should have access to each other's traditional roles -- what we're doing is turning the process upside down: civilization sets culture to its own ends rather than culture as the finding of meaning within our individual free wills.

Now I'm not saying that we shouldn't break down the barriers of social anc cultural expectation -- I'm all for it! I've just seen throughout history that doing it through government usually leads to evil. The most obvious examples of this are when looking at the marriage between church and state. Religion in and of itself never caused harm, but when gov't gets involved, people end up burning at the stake.

bmmg39

"I would have been happy to spend an hour exposing the myth of gender symmetry in domestic violence cases..."

How, exactly? Suggesting that there are MORE abused men than abused women, as the case may be?

I've already cited more than 100 studies that women INITIATE (again, this means NOT SELF-DEFENSE) domestic abuse against men approximately as often as the reverse occurs. Did everybody miss that?

Moontyger

I guess I have 2 problems with what you said there, craichead. First, I am unconvinced that culture as you are defining it has ever really been decided by individual free will. And second, it seems that this could be used as an excuse for discrimination far too easily. It might be your free will to discriminate against gays, blacks, women, etc., but should society really allow that? What about the people you hurt and their free will? How do you think we should go about achieving equality and preventing discrimination?

Your posts are very interesting and I look forward to seeing your response.

stanton

I am new here, though I have been reading the blog for a week or so - ever since Glenn linked to it in his announcement of your guest appearance on his show. I have seen a great deal here, and in the archives, to which I would love to respond, but I will limit myself to the topic at hand.

Hugo, you seem to me to be an introspective man, willing to look inside yourself, and that is certainly admirable. So it is with some hope that I ask you to consider that even your self-criticisms are filtered through some serious biases. These biases create the situation where your self-criticisms reinforce your comfortable place in the group where you have carved out a niche, where you receive welcome, acceptance and approbation. These same self-criticisms also keep the strokes flowing from the readers here, providing the rush of righteousness that can be so addicting.

There are many examples of this process in action in your blog - so much so that I am hard pressed to select a single one for comment. I will begin with a part of your response to your experience on Glenn's show.

You said, in response to some of Glenn's teasing:
"But I am also aware that my ability to take that in stride is, yes, a function of male privilege. Had I been a woman saying the same things that I do on this blog and in the classroom, I'm not sure I would have ended up on the Sacks show in the first place. And second of all, I suspect there might well have been more of an edge to Glenn's words to me."

This is wrong on every level. First, it is astoundingly condescending to women, in that you have assumed that you can do something that they cannot (which you should know is not the case), but you couch this incorrect (and in fact, highly misogynistic!) expression in language that is designed to affirm your position as one of the allies of your chosen group. You have mastered this language, and the response from your readers was, indeed, as expected, and the actual implication of your words was ignored.

Second, I have known many women, including feminists such as my daughter, who are capable of having respectful interactions with ideological opponents. If you would think without your ideological hat on for a moment, I know that you would find that you also know such women. Can it be that you have become so used to swinging your "male privilege" hammer that everything now looks like a nail?

(Yes, after your bold-print rant, you revert to small print and try to give yourself some wiggle-room by saying "women can be civil", but even then you declare it to be harder for them than for you. Men have no lock on magnanimity, Hugo. You owe women an apology on this one!)

It also appears to me that you have not taken the time to look over the archives of Glenn's show. If you had, you would have known better than to make the assumption that a woman holding your views would not have been on his show. Here are just a few who have: Gloria Allred (famous feminist attorney), Columnist Laura Berman, Michigan State Professor Melanie Jacobs, Dr Linda Neilson (Wake Forest Women's Studies Professor). There are many more, from many fields. And if you had listened to any of the programs, or bothered to check out the responses of these "hostile" guests, you would find that not one of them has ever said that Glenn was anything but a gentleman toward them. So why would you be so totally convinced that the opposite is true? Why would you be so utterly certain that you didn't even feel the need to check the facts?

And the part about men's rights advocates lacking the vocabulary to attack you "with words that really wound" is, to be kind, inappropriate. It contains the assumption that "men's rights" groups and Glenn Sacks in particular wish to "really wound". This is clearly a truism for you and many of your readers. Each of you would also have many choice adjectives for anyone who assumed this to be true of "the feminists": that their intent is to "really wound" men. (And any attempts to "wound" aside, there is an elitist arrogance in your assumptions about their vocabulary!)

Yes, you may quote the comments of some very angry men from various sources, some of whom are genuinely misogynistic. Indeed, you have often done so. You can then declare these fringe reactionaries to be representative of the "men's rights" people. Yet you decry the unfairness of quoting misandrist women (such as Andrea Dworkin, Catherine MacKinnon, Valerie Solano, or Robin Morgan) as representative of feminism. If the game is to paint the entire group with the brush drawn from the extemists, then you must play by those rules yourself. Or, better yet, drop that silly game entirely. Fairness of that sort has no history in your blog, and it would be a challenge to make that shift. Are you up to it? You might expect some members of the cheering section to protest loudly, and then depart for more ear-tickling company. Could you accept that?

One other point. I believe that you will find, if you boil everything down to the core, that what you and Glenn (and others like him) actually want, is fairness and justice for everyone, regardless of class, race, gender, religion, nationality, etc. I grant that this is what you want. From what I have seen, it appears to me that you would never be able to grant the same recognition to men's rights advocates. This will remain your blind spot as long as you insist on considering their lunatic fringe as representative of the whole. This is where your own introspection falls down, and tunnel vision prevents any deeper insights. Joel Klein, of Time magazine, said it so well: "Faith without doubt leads to moral arrogance, the eternal pratfall of the religiously convinced."

Consider this possibility: You have been having such a good time swinging your twin hammers of "male privilege" and "misogyny" that you are now seeing ubiquitous nails, often where there are none.

Regards,

Stanton

craichead

Well, first I'll say that culture I guess is occurs as an interaction among free wills. Look at it historically: the first human societies are bascially big extended families and mutually beneficial voluntary associations-- this is the origin of culture and could be considered its most legitimate source. If not this -- then what? There is no civilization yet and in fact the whole concept of civilization could be considered as nothing more than humanity's most abstract tool invention.

Second, you say "should society allow that?" Society doesn't allow anything -- it's an abstract concept and I think what you're really asking is "should our civilization (our institutions and specialties) allow that?" which has the same problem.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if we want to change it, then change your culture in the ways it's always been changed. If you think say journalism doesn't give women a fair deal -- well then start a newspaper and hire women. Don't just tell someone else what they have to do. It's a hell of a lot harder, but in the end it's real.

The illusion is that working for governmental or institutional solutions we're somehow taking on a personal mission. We're not -- we're taking on expanding governmental power as the personal mission. The gov't as it turns out, is more than happy to oblige.

Now if you want to talk about affirmative action or something at a private institution -- like say Harvard -- I say fine. If it's private, it's their business.

La Lubu

craic: interesting. But see, as human beings developed larger groups than the "large extended families" of days gone by, we also developed institutions to go with that. Those smaller human groupings were automatically accountable to one another; they dealt with one another face-to-face, name-to-name on a daily basis. When we extend our groupings beyond that, say to the modern day United States, a very diverse, heterogeneous country....we have institutions like elections and representative government for holding our fellow citizens accountable. There is no conflict with using government, or any other consensus institution to further our cause, because that is an organic part of the whole. To refrain from using our government to solve problems would be like to refrain from using our left hand to lift an object, even though our left hand was available for the lifting!

Your solution for discrimination is a recipe for more discrimination. When I was born in 1967, it was quite common for colleges to refuse admission to qualified women based on anatomy. The solution was not, nor should it have been, to tell female high school graduates "well, just start your own college, then." The female high school graduates did not have the funding, expertise, or connections to start their own colleges, even if they had tried to do so collectively. Requiring educational institutions to open the doors to the other half of the population was the correct thing to do.

I'm a female electrician. I have been discriminated against during the course of my career, due to some folks' inability to judge me on my ability, rather than on my anatomy. Now, your solution would be "start your own business." But that is not a solution. Why? Because 1.) the skill set to be a good electrician, and the skill set to run a successful business are two different things, 2.) it would increase the hours of my working day from 8 to 16+, and from five days a week to seven, which would interfere with my duties as a parent, 3.) what I enjoy about my work has everything to do with the nitty-gritty, and nothing to do with paperwork or networking/gladhanding, two essential skills for a contractor, especially a contractor without family connections (nepotism is the name of the game in the construction field), and 4.) I do not have, nor will I ever have, the kind of funding it takes to open up a contracting business, which requires a huge outlay of start-up cash, and a large line of credit.

Meanwhile, I'm a qualified electrician. Why should someone be allowed to reject me solely on the basis of my body parts? Why should my skills, education and work ethic be shunted aside in favor of someone's arbitrary delusion about what women should or shouldn't be "allowed" to do?

In our modern society, one of the harshest punishments we mete out to lawbreakers is jailing....the restriction of freedom. What you are proposing is to allow bigots free rein to mete that punishment---restriction of freedom---out to fellow citizens who have broken no laws. Fellow citizens who they don't like, or who they think should occupy a certain 'place', that place not being equal to them.

Whether you want to admit it or not, barring women (or blacks, or gays, or....) from certain opportunities and institutions, is an infringement upon our freedoms. It's a "I've got mine, to hell with you" argument. Meanwhile, women are also full-fledged citizens. Why should we have second-class citizenship?

djw

craichead: It (Marxism) seems to me to be ubiquitously dominant in every one of the social sciences.

I can't even begin to tell you how incorrect this is. Yes, Marxism has made an impact on all of the social sciences at one point or another, and yes, some elements of Marxist approaches can still be found in each of them. But dominant: not even close. Economics is dominated by rational choice theory, neo-classical economics, and institutionalism. Political science is eclectic and not really dominated by any approach, but the leaders would be rational choice theory, constructivism, new institutionalism, and a sort of positivist behavorialism. To the extent that structuralism is big, it tends to be explicitly anti-marxist forms of structuralism, like Waltz's neo-realism. Sociology has a fairly similar mix to political science. Cultural anthropology and cultural geography seems to have more constructivism and postmodernism than anything else going right now. In each of these, Marxism remains a distinctly minority tradition; in most cases, increasingly so. I can't imagine an actual examination of the work social scientists do would lead you to your conclusion, unless this is just your shorthand for saying social science is dominated by left-liberals, which is a really sloppy and pointless use of the term Marxism.

craichead

Lalubu-

I think one of the problems is that you and I may speak a different language on a subject like this and may therefore simply disagree.

First I think there's a big difference between sending someone to jail and not giving them a job. One occurs through gov't the other does not. I also find it interesting to note your use of the word "force" in an earlier post which is exactly what I'm talking about.

Next, I find it questionable that in 1967 it was common to deny a woman entry into college. I was born in '65 and every single woman of the generation or tow prior to mine was college educated. Are you sure this is accurate? Also in 1967 it was probably much more rare for a man to be able to stay home with his kids.

It's also important to note that the reason this can't be a solution is not that it's impossible, but that it's too hard. I understand because I have a child to take care of too, but I don't see it as a gov't mission for someone to make it easier for me.

I also don't agree with the analogy of the left hand and the right hand. It's really more like one hand holds a gun and forces the other to do it's will than anything else.

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