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THE END OF SENSEby Miles Mathis
It just gets easier and easier to be a counter-critic. Sense is never spoken in the various media, and a sensible person responding is like a bowler with a four-foot-wide ball. In this case, it is Atlantic magazine once more providing the shaky pins for me to knock down. It has just published an article with the man-pleasing title “The End of Men.” It is nice enough to also include a video titled, “Resolved: Girls are better than Boys.” If your guess is that it was written by a woman, you win. The ever-obnoxious Hanna Rosin provides the text here and (what has passed the editors as) the argument. [Ms. Rosin also wrote "The Case against Breast Feeding" for Atlantic, April 2009 and "Did Christianity Cause the Crash?", Dec. 2009].
Her leading statistic in support of her title is that women now make up around 60% of college graduates. What she doesn't mention is that men don't enroll at the same rates as women. She implies that we are flunking out, but that isn't the case. So the question (she doesn't ask) is, why are fewer men enrolling in college or staying in after they enroll? Is it because they are stupid or inferior? No. It happens to be the very same reason that fewer men are reading magazines like Atlantic: too many articles like this one. Too much offensive, meaningless bullshit. In the press, we see a preponderance of fake journalism, trying to pass off a prejudice or a hunch—or most often propaganda—as real research. In college, we see a preponderance of fake classes, trying to pass off a sugar-coated bureaucracy of trivia and disinformation as education. For pretty obvious reasons, men don't want to purchase monthly installments of gender ranting, and in the same way they don't want to purchase four years of cheerleading for the female sex packaged as a progressive education.
Call me old-fashioned, but I see it as a good sign whenever a person of either sex discovers the truth, and the truth is college is no longer an efficient method of learning, either as a matter of time, of money, or of wisdom. And I say that as a college graduate, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. If my children had any discipline at all, I would sooner recommend they spend four years in the public library; and if they hadn't any discipline, college certainly wouldn't teach it to them. So when I hear that men are giving up on college, I don't leap to the conclusion that they have lost their minds or their wills to live. I only grieve for the college women who haven't figured out they are just being cheated one more time by the system, sold something nearly worthless (or detrimental) for a very large sum.
As more proof of this, I send you to another recent article by a woman [Kathy Kristof in Forbes, Feb. 2009] called “The Great College Hoax.” Ms. Kristof argues that college is a bad investment, and she actually knows how to do math. She uncrunches the numbers to show precisely how Ms. Rosin's unstated assumptions are false. She calls it “goosing the statistics.” It is also called externalizing the costs.
Ms. Rosin never bothers to argue that college is necessary to success, she simply states it as a known fact, ignoring all existing counter-data and counter-argument. However, it conflicts with her thesis very noticeably, especially when one is reminded of a person named Oprah. Oprah didn't graduate from college before her success, although it is said she went back and got her degree later. If the most powerful women aren't powerful because of college, then the college statistic is both meaningless and misleading. Madonna also dropped out of college, as did J.K. Rowling. Cher never went. Neither did Doris Lessing. Angelina Jolie went for a short time. Like Oprah, Sandra Bullock finished her degree after she became famous, but the degree had nothing to do with it. Julia Roberts never went. Neither did Celine Dion. Neither did Jennifer Lopez or Whoopi Goldberg. Ellen Degeneres left school after one semester. Yoko Ono dropped out of Sarah Lawrence. On the men's side, the list is even more impressive, since it is basically the list of top worldwide billionaires: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Ingvar Kamprad, Lawrence Ellison, Paul Allen, Steve Wozniak, Amanico Ortega, Michael Dell, and David Geffen didn't graduate. This alone blows a permanent hole in Ms. Rosin's argument. Going back a bit, John Jacob Astor, J. Paul Getty, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Haroldson Hunt, Donald Newhouse, Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, George Washington, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Leo Tolstoy, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alfred Russel Wallace and Thomas Edison either didn't go or didn't graduate. Neither did Woody Allen, Karl Rove, William Safire, J. D. Salinger, Emile Zola, William Saroyan, Barry Goldwater, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Buckminster Fuller, Mark Zuckerberg, nor Tiger Woods.
[Hold on to your shorts, because there may be one more name for this list: Hanna Rosin. Ms. Rosin's bio is not at all clear on her academics. She says she went to Stanford, but does not say she graduated. As with J. K. Rowling, there is a bit of hedging here, and strange word choice. Wikipedia conspicuously leaves out her university affiliation, though it mentions her high school. No other information is easily obtained from the internet.]
Another statistic pushed by Ms. Rosin is that more couples who choose the sex of their child are choosing girls. But again, both her research and her reasoning are deficient. She admits that polling does not confirm this, and provides as data “some clinics” and a method of sperm selection that hasn't even gained FDA approval. The problem is not the FDA approval, it is that such a method can't yet be widespread, and therefore the numbers must be very limited. She says that 75% of those pre-registering for this method are choosing girls, but for all we readers know there could be four couples on that list, three of them asking for a girl.
But all that is almost beside the point, since even if it is proved beyond any doubt that people desire girl babies over boy babies, this is in no way an indication that girls are better or that we are seeing “THE END OF MEN.” Rosin admits that people have preferred boy babies for large parts of recent history, and that they still do in China and other places, which, according to her implied logic, must mean that boys were superior in the past, in China, and that this was “THE END” for girls.
It is hard to believe that such slop ever makes it to print, but we have been seeing this sort of thing for years. Just off the top of my head, I remember “Why All Englishmen are Women” (Harper's, 1998); “What are Men Good For?” (Barbara Ehrenreich debating Lionel Tiger, Harper's 1999); “Boys, the Weaker Sex?” (USNews, 2001); “Why There Are No Good Men Left” (Atlantic, 2002). And we must add to this list Maureen Dowd's book Are Men Necessary? (2006). As with this current article, we can judge the entire lot by their titles. It is not (only or mainly) that they are stridently prejudiced against men, it is that they are stridently prejudiced against making sense in the title. These writers never even try to support their chosen titles in their books or articles, because it is a clear impossibility. The End of Men? How can that be supported by any possible research or opinion? If I titled anything The End of Women, I would be pre-arrested as a potential serial killer. But here everyone apparently laughs it off. Most of the editors at Atlantic are men, you may be amazed to hear, so we must suppose that most or all people in what used to be called journalism, of both sexes, are now operating beyond all bounds of rationality. Their anti-depressants are interfering with their Viagras and Rogaines, and the mind has been stirred into a soup. As one example, editor Michael Kinsley can be seen in a sidebar to this article asking you to enter a “Boring Article Contest.” You would have to be swimming in a stew of pills not to see the irony there. Every issue of every magazine I have seen is posting the winners of this contest monthly. It is called modern publishing.
Again, this is why men and other sensible people don't read magazines or any other mainstream media: they are written and edited by podpeople, amoebic bags of fluid and gristle to whom it is difficult to assign a sex or a gender. It is not that all Englishmen are women, or the reverse, it is that everyone being published or televised is now little more than a nasty hologram imprinted upon the air or page by some three-letter machine, CIA or NBC or FOX or NPR or CFR or MI6. I no longer read or view these articles or programs expecting information or sense. They are not to be read, they are to be deconstructed. Derrida died before the golden age. Until recently, the written or spoken word contained some real percentage of content, but now it is nothing but the most transparent mindgame. A clever ten year old (supposing he or she hadn't already been drugged into the common oblivion) could deconstruct a modern magazine article, putting the author into the proper file at the sanatorium. In fact, that is what is most telling about the video included with this article. The children in it actually show more signs of native intelligence and humanity than the adults. And this is the rule, not the exception to it. If you want to talk to someone with sense, you had better find someone under 12 or over 75. They both predate the modern mania, though for different reasons.
Ms. Rosin tells us that the attributes most valuable in today's economy belong to women: “social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus.” And yet we see none of these in her own article. I don't even know what “social intelligence” is, and neither does anyone else, so we will pass that by as a made-up attribute. It is defined, if at all, as “the sort of intelligence women have,” so it is both circular and contradictory. Those with intelligence don't use slippery terms like this, so it is a tick against the user, not a tick for. The same can be said for “open communication”, since this article is gender propaganda, and propaganda is the opposite of open communication. Open communication would be honest and straightforward, but Ms. Rosin is trying to finesse us in every paragraph, unveiling a new debating trick in every fourth sentence. Nor does Ms. Rosin sit still and focus here: we get scattershot data from a variety of poorly referenced sources, and none of this data supports a thesis. There is no thesis that I could find, beyond the ones implied by the titles and subtitles, and those are strictly insupportable. As I say, how could you offer data in support of THE END OF MEN?
Here's one example of that data: “Women in poor parts of India are learning English faster than men to meet the demand for new global call centers.” Even if the data is true, it doesn't support Ms. Rosin's thesis, since it is hardly a sign of Indian or female empowerment. If Japan outsourced its call centers to American women, I don't think we would see this as a sign of national pride or female empowerment, especially if they paid them pennies on the dollar for it. The fact that they learned Japanese would have nothing to do with it. Ms. Rosin doesn't consider the possibility that most Indian men think it is beneath the dignity of India to become a subsidiary of the US, and that they are right to think so. She might as well argue that it is a sign of empowerment that Indonesian women work 14 hours a day supplying linens to the US, and learn English from their bosses so that they can be scolded and threatened with no inconvenience or confusion. Indonesian men take these jobs less often, she might tell us, so they must be stupider.
Here's more “data”: “Dozens of college women I interviewed for this story assumed that they might very well be the ones working while their husbands stayed at home, either looking for work or minding the children.” Wow. If that isn't hard science, I don't know what is. What “dozens” of very young women “assume” is neither here nor there, and is nothing to write an article around. You could find dozens of young women who assume that cats will take over the world by 2020, but that will not justify a title or thesis THE END OF DOGS.
Right after that, Rosin tells us that one college senior told her that guys were the new ball and chain. Rosin is not afraid to extrapolate from that pool of one, since she immediately rushes to this conclusion: “it may be happening slowly and unevenly, but it is unmistakenly happening: in the long view, the modern economy is becoming a place where women hold the cards.” We can only imagine how confident Rosin would have been had she found TWO women who told her that guys were the new ball and chain. She could then have jettisoned that whole “slowly and unevenly” hedge.
As in all these other articles and books written by women about inferior men, the data is mostly informal interviews, and the author always manages somehow to interview alpha females and omega males. All the women mentioned or quoted are class presidents or CEO's, while the men interviewed or mentioned are deadbeat dads or unemployed mineworkers or prison inmates. The author is then shocked and amazed that her data shows a bias against men. “I interviewed a lot of successful women and unsuccessful men, and my data shows that the men are less successful than the women.” It is sort of like scouring the treetops for life, and coming to the conclusion that fish are extinct and that birds are the future.
When she is not presenting table talk and gossip as hard science, Rosin is pointing to fiction as data. She brags that in the movie Up in the Air, George Clooney is rejected by both an older woman and a younger woman. “If the sexiest man alive can get rejected twice. . . what hope is there for anyone else?” Um, Ms. Rosin, did you notice that in the movie George was not playing himself? It is called acting. It didn't really happen. You might as well claim that because a couple of guys buggered eachother in Brokeback Mountain, the only job in the future for guys will be as gay cowboys. In fact, Rosin comes damn near that contention when she tells us that Japanese men are now “herbivores”, limp wristed or sexless.
So you see that Ms. Rosin is a terrible debater. We are told at Wiki that she won a number of debating awards in highschool, but that must tell us more about her competition than about herself. Her opponents should have seen through her tricks and called her on them. As it is, she is still existing on those highschool tricks, relying on her ability to divert your attention from the main lines of an argument by peppering you with slippery factoids and hearsay and other clever feints. In person, this may work for her, due to her speed in talking or thinking, but in print she is a sitting duck. As words on a page, her argument becomes a manic cobweb, blowing in an ill wind, catching only the smallest flies. I recommend you read her other articles as confirmation of this. Like this one, they can be rebutted by never reading past the title. "Did Christianity Cause the Crash?" Only someone on the secret payroll of Goldman Sachs would even ask such a stupid question, so we must assume that both Ms. Rosin and Atlantic have some connection to the banks. And a similar conclusion can be had from "The Case against Breast Feeding." A real researcher would look to see if Ms. Rosin or the Atlantic is taking money from Nestle or Gerber through some backchannel. And I mean that seriously. And this tells us that the same researcher should look into the possibility that this current article has been funded by one or more universities.
As another example of her poor debating skills and the absurdity of this article in general, Ms. Rosin tells us that “with few exceptions, the greater the power of women, the greater the country's economic success.” Looks good until you dig a tiny bit deeper. It is interesting, for instance, that women like Ms. Rosin now accept economic success as the primary indicator. Women used to criticize men for being too interested in money, too narrow in their conceptions of success, too tied to the grindstone, etc. Women were praised for seeing beyond the bank account and the GNP. No more. Here women are praised for accepting the narrow definitions of success promulgated by the most shallow men. But we can dig even deeper. The US is the most successful country economically. How did it get there? It got there the same way every other successful big country in history got there: empire building. It got there by using the third world as a sweatshop, by being at war all the time, by murdering millions of innocent people, etc. If you need to be convinced of this, you simply aren't paying attention. Problem is, this fact is deadly to Rosin's argument. If we read her sentence from the period back, we find that our country's economic success (which predated the rise of the woman) allowed for the greater freedom and opportunity of women. Yes, this greater freedom and opportunity has created a feedback mechanism, since more people in the work force will automatically add to the GNP, even if they aren't fully liberated. But Rosin conveniently ignores the question begged here: if women are superior, and if our country is ruled more and more by them, then shouldn't our country have become more and more benevolent and beneficent and wise? Shouldn't the problems of the past have faded in some way? Shouldn't we have become more moral and more compassionate, since women are so moral and so compassionate?
I think that a reader should be given a light to shine on this article, lit by a sun and moon called logic and fact. Is the US a better place than it was 30 years ago? And I ask that not wanting some limited and pushed statistics about college graduates or babies. Is it a nicer, kinder place? Is it nicer and kinder internationally? Does it care more about ethics or morals or fairness or about abiding by laws, national or international? Yes, we are somewhat fairer toward American women and blacks, but haven't we just shifted the prejudices? Instead of preying prejudically upon blacks or women, we now prey prejudicially upon all the poor, and even upon the “middle class.” We don't prey upon our own minorities quite as much, but we have shifted to preying on the poor people of other countries. We treat our own blacks somewhat better, but we treat Africans with the same general contempt we always did. We have spoiled our own women (and men) into a pandemic odiousness or vapidity, but we are not beyond treating women everywhere else as slaves and prostitutes. We treat everyone beyond our own borders with contempt or nonchalance, as if they are only there to provide us with oil or food or cheap socks. And if they don't sell us those goods cheaply enough or fast enough, we bomb them into early graves.
Is this the legacy women want to celebrate? Is this the present and future Ms. Rosin is selling to us as a great advance? If so, I'm not buying it. I was a hopeful if skeptical consumer back when feminism was supposed to civilize the world, stop some wars, give us cleaner air and water, and so on. But unfortunately I notice other statistics than the ones thrown in my face by equation finessers and other propagandists. I notice that the water and air and food are all dirtier now than they were before all these women became powerful. I notice that the wars just keep piling up, and that the women keep voting for them and funding them and writing articles selling them to us. I notice that women work for Monsanto and DOW and Union Carbide and the Pentagon and the State Department and the CIA and Lockheed and RCA and General Electric and Unilever and the TSA and Homeland Security and FEMA and Freeport McMoran and Nestle and Walmart and CocaCola. I notice that women have not stopped or even begun to stop the wholesale razing of the rainforests, the filling of the oceans with garbage and oil, the gutting of the Constitution, or the illegal invasion of the Middle East. Although women are sold to us as mothers, they have not stopped or begun to stop the poisoning of their own children with fluoride, mercury, benzene, and literally thousands of other toxins, more every year. Although they are now writers and editors and actors and billionaires, they have not stopped or begun to stop the corporate and federal takeover of the press and media. No, they are complicit in all of these things, in very conspicuous ways. You may ask yourself why Ms. Rosin does not mention any of this.
I don't mean to blame women for all the problems of the world (although they are not shy about doing this to us). And I do not deny that some small percentage of women are in fact protesting the wars and the pollution and the poisoning and the corruption. Some small percentage of men are doing this, too. No, my argument is that the empowerment of women, which cannot be denied, has not greatly changed anything. Women have done as men did, twisting the facts in their own favor almost always, selfishly and shortsightedly, and when they get a man down, they kick him. To me, this must mean that men and women are about the same. Neither is better, since neither are very good. Ms. Rosin's article is little but another transparent example of that, since an enlightened gender, of either pants shape, would not even attempt the argument she is attempting. An enlightened gender, sporting whatever genitals, would not title anything THE END OF MEN. Those who would judge their own levels of power by their ability to offend are neither enlightened nor superior.
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