Archive for November 19th, 2011

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, they’d be singing so happily,
joyfully, oh, playfully watching me.

But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,
logical, oh, responsible, practical.
And then they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
clinical, oh, intellectual, cynical.

There are times when all the world’s asleep,
The questions run too deep for such a simple man.
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd, but please tell me who I am.

I say, now watch what you say or they’ll be calling you a radical,
a liberal, oh, fanatical, criminal.
Won’t you sign up your name, we’d like to feel you’re acceptable,
respectable, oh, presentable, a vegetable!

But at night, when all the world’s asleep,
The questions run so deep for such a simple man.
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd, but please tell me who I am.
  –  Roger Hodgson

A long epigram, I know, but an important one.  From the time I was quite young I had the feeling that I was being groomed for exploitation, prepared to be used for my abilities by people who didn’t give a damn about me as a person, and when this song came out (the summer before I turned 13) it really spoke to me.  Over and over again it had been crammed into my head that as the bearer of an “exceptional” intellect it was my duty and responsibility to allow that intellect to be used for the “good of society”…but according to the dictates of what “authorities” declared to be the right way, despite the fact that my mind was supposedly better than theirs! In other words, they wished to exploit my brain, and those of other intelligent people, as computers, without judgment or feeling of our own.  I was never to question the status quo, but only to allow myself to be applied like a power tool to whatever “problems” the “authorities” wished to attack.  Furthermore, I was never expected to ask what was in all this for me; that was “selfish”.  Presumably I was supposed to be satisfied with existing as a nameless, faceless cog, uncompensated by wealth, respect, recognition or even self-actualization.

Yet despite this, second-wave feminists and neofeminists preach that it’s somehow “better” to be valued for one’s intellect than for one’s sexual characteristics; as anyone who’s ever experienced both can attest, that’s a load of rubbish.  There is absolutely no difference in being “valued” for any one characteristic over another if those doing the “valuation” don’t care about the individuality of the one so “valued”.  A charwoman who is treated like a human being, compensated generously and recognized for her contribution is a lot better off than a professor who is overworked, underpaid, put-upon and mistreated, and anyone in his right mind should be able to recognize this.  The fact that neofeminists do not is a clear demonstration of their anti-sex neuroses and anti-male bias; they imagine that heterosexual activity constitutes mistreatment in and of itself, no matter what the attitude of the man involved, and are therefore unable to rationally compare the advantages and drawbacks of sex jobs with non-sex-related jobs.  On the other hand, many of them also have an equally deep and neurotic bias toward political titles and positions, and consider such titles rewards in and of themselves; they are therefore unable to rationally compare the advantages and drawbacks of “intellectual” jobs with non-“intellectual” jobs.

In my column of one year ago today I discussed what I called the “lie at the heart of neofeminism”, namely its claim to support the rights of individual women while actually subjugating such rights in order to advance the political power of neofeminists (who claim to  represent “all women” as a gestalt).  Since abortion allows women to reject their biological function as females neofeminists wholeheartedly embrace the right to it, but since prostitution allows men access to sex on fair and equitable terms they viciously oppose it, despite the obvious fact that a woman’s right to do as she likes with her own body and life supports the right to prostitution even more clearly than it supports the right to abortion, since the former involves only her own body and time while the latter arguably involves the rights of two others.  Either human beings own and control our own bodies, or we don’t; either individuals have the right to our own sexual choices, or we don’t.  You simply can’t have it both ways.  If the individual is to have personal autonomy his or her individuality, especially as represented by his or her decisions and personal preferences, must be absolutely inviolate until they abrogate the rights of another.  Neither society as a whole nor any subset of society (political party, religious sect, “authorities” or whatever) has the right to restrict or control the lives of individuals no matter how stupid, “sinful”, ugly, “selfish”, disgusting, “unhealthy”, self-abusive, “sexist” or otherwise undesirable those individuals’ actions may seem to anyone else.

What it all boils down to is this:  I’m a package deal.  You want something from me?  Fine, as long as it’s something I’m willing to give, and you’re willing to give me what I want in exchange, and you understand that it will be given on my terms and in the manner I judge best.  If that all works for you I’m your girl; if it doesn’t, you need to look elsewhere.  My gifts and abilities are mine to be used as pleases me; they are not for others to command or control, and only I determine which of them I’m willing to trade on, and when and how they will be employed.  I do not accept other people’s judgment as to which of them are “good” and “bad”, which “proper” and which “improper”, and I will no more obey demands for the use of my intellectual abilities than I will obey demands that I refrain from using my sexual ones.  Call me radical or criminal if you like, but understand that I am not and never will be anyone’s vegetable.

(P.S. – Hodgson, Supertramp and the record company appear to be embroiled in some childish dispute; there are videos of Hodgson performing the song alone, Supertramp performing it without him and others covering it, but every time someone posts the original version it is soon taken down.  The linked video was the best version I could find, but the sound quality is terrible; if anyone can find a better one please post it in a comment.)

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