Mommies, Daddies, and Kiddies didn’t used to be considered synonymous – nor were they meant to be.
I recently submitted several of my pages to the Gender Analyzer, and the underlying AI engine has always reported with a confidence level well above 70% that they were written by a man. Thus, I was surprised to find that according to their ongoing poll, it is only right 53% of the time. Why? It was reportedly “taught” the difference by submitting writing samples written by known women and men.
I have for years noted that the political Left seems to be dominated by emotion, and most actual critical thinking occurs on the political Right. I have noted that Talk Radio is owned by the Right, simply because those on the Left become viscerally upset and tune out. They generally feel their political truths, are easily offended by, and are thus largely uninterested in serious political discourse and debate. It has also not escaped my attention that the vast majority of political bestsellers are written by, purchased by, and apparently read by those on the Right. Readers are thinkers; emoters, not so much…
The very name for this website was an outgrowth of an experience a couple of years ago, when I innocently joined a “freethinkers” forum, thinking the word meant what it implied. I soon found myself almost alone as a rational thinker in a sea of ACLU type irrational emoters, bent on doing battle with their favorite bogymen, the fundamentalist Christians. They were constitutionally incapable of comprehending that their fundie Marxist dogma was every bit as irrational to a true skeptical thinker as fundie Christian dogma, and in many ways infinitely more dangerous to individual Liberty. Needless to say, I soon found myself unwelcome among them.
6. Something has happened to the generic American male accent. Maybe it is urbanization; perhaps it is now an affectation to sound precise and caring with a patina of intellectual authority; perhaps it is the fashion culture of the metrosexual; maybe it is the influence of the gay community in arts and popular culture. Maybe the ubiquitous new intonation comes from the scarcity of salty old jobs in construction, farming, or fishing. But increasingly to meet a young American male about 25 is to hear a particular nasal stress, a much higher tone than one heard 40 years ago, and, to be frank, to listen to a precious voice often nearly indistinguishable from the female…
It seems that it has to others. In, “The Voice of the Neuter is Heard Throughout the Land,” a blogger named Vanderleun offered nearly two years ago:
…What interestest me is how he speaks.
If you focus on it, you realize that you hear this voice every day if you bounce around a bit in our larger cities buying this or ordering that, and in general running into young people in the “service” sector — be it coffee shop, video store, department store, boutique, bookstore, or office cube farm. It’s a kind of voice that was seldom heard anywhere but now seems to be everywhere.
It is the voice of the neuter.
I mean that in the grammatical sense:
“a. Neither masculine nor feminine in gender.
“b. Neither active nor passive; intransitive,”
and in the biological sense:
“a. Biology Having undeveloped or imperfectly developed sexual organs: the neuter caste in social insects.
“b. Botany Having no pistils or stamens; asexual.
“c. Zoology Sexually undeveloped.”
You hear this soft, inflected tone everywhere that young people below, roughly, 35 congregate. As flat as the bottles of spring water they carry and affectless as algae, it tends to always trend towards a slight rising question at the end of even simple declarative sentences. It has no timbre to it and no edge of assertion in it.
The voice whisps across your ears as if the speaker is in a state of perpetual uncertainty with every utterance. It is as if, male or female, there is no foundation or soul within the speaker on which the voice can rest and rise. As a result, it has a misty quality to it that denies it any unique character at all…
Above all, it is a sexless voice. Not, I hasten to add, a “gay” voice. Not that at all. It is neither that gentle nor that musical. Nor is it that old shabby lisping stereotype best consigned to the dustbin of popular culture. No, this is a new old voice of a generation of ostensible men and women who have been educated and acculturated out of, or say rather, to the far side of any gender at all. It is, as I have indicated above, the voice of the neutered. And in this I mean that of the transitive verb: To castrate or spay. The voice and the kids that carry it is the triumphant achievement of our halls of secondary and higher education. These children did not speak this way naturally, they were taught. And like good children seeking only to please their teachers and then their employers, they learned.
This is not to say that the new American Castrati of all genders live sexless lives. On the contrary, if reports are to be credited, they seem to have a good deal of sex, most often without the burden of love or the threat of chlldren, and in this they are condemned to the sex life of children.
No, it is only to say that this new voice that we hear throughout the land from so many of the young betokens a weaker and less certain brand of citizen than we have been used to in our history. Neither male nor female, neither gay nor straight, neither…. well, not anything substantive really. A generation finely tuned to irony and nothingness and tone deaf to duty and soul.
If you have never heard Hugh Hewitt flay a Lefty in one of his well prepared, fast paced, and courtroom like interviews, it is a treat and I recall the referenced one well; but though Vanderleun’s piece was beautifully written and insightful, the whole impetus behind this post was his link at the end to:
“The Pathetic Last Children of Nietzsche’s Pitiable Last Men,” by “Gagdad Bob” at the “One Cosmos” blog. Here in the metaphor of the decade, he compares the current American political system (since the ’60s) to a dysfunctional family, with the Mommy on the Left and the Daddy on the Right:
…One way of looking at it is that we are seeing a collapse of the covenant between mother and father as represented in the previous maternal/paternal two-party system. It is as if we are children living in a home where mother and father no longer get along and are bickering constantly. In fact, that is probably putting it too mildly, because the current situation has gone beyond mere arguing, to the point that the masculine and feminine spheres are no longer communicating at all and are going through a very messy and acrimonious divorce. Both sides are “lawyered up” and ready to go for the throat.
I believe we may trace this divorce to the 1960’s, when mother government started to become so all powerful that there was almost no role for father. Of course, this began to change in the 1980’s, when father began reasserting himself because of the cultural, political and economic chaos that hit bottom in Jimmy Carter’s gynocracy, but by then, something else had happened. That is, the age old distinctions between mother and father and adult and child had begun to attenuate, leaving many people confused about their primordial identity.
Then he discusses how we are crippling our children. Not just by confusing their gender identities, but by blurring the distinction between adults and children:
The other main psychological mutation that occurred beginning with the 1960’s was the eradication of the differences between adult and child. Up until then, there was a clear difference between the spheres of adult and child, and everyone knew it. When I was growing up in the 60’s, I had my interests and my parents had theirs’, and there was relatively little intersection between the two–for example, baseball with my father. But we dressed differently, listened to different kinds of music, enjoyed different activities, read different literature, liked different movies, etc. I knew that I wasn’t an adult or a man but that some day I would have to become one–someone like my father, who worked hard, didn’t whine, had honor and a sense of duty, and had feelings but didn’t necessarily give them much weight.
But that has all changed now. Here again it is critical to point out that there is nothing at all wrong with an adult maintaining contact with the child part of himself. In fact, doing so is vital for creativity, spontaneity and play. However, as in the blending of male and female, the problem arises when the differences between adult and child are obliterated, which creates a hybrid monster that is neither adult nor child but both at the same time. This affects both adults and children, for our society has become a plague of adult children and childish adults–that is, prematurely sexualized children who are burdened with all kinds of inappropriate concerns, and childish adults who psychologically do not grow beyond the age of 21 or so, and never enter the realm of the truly adult.
There was this profound and insightful paragraph:
The modern conservative movement is not just trying to preserve the traditional male element, but the traditional separation of the various spheres in general–civilized vs. barbaric, animal vs, human, adult vs. child–while the Democratic party is the party of mannish women (e.g., Hillary Clinton, Gloria Allred), feminized men (e.g., Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore), adult children (Howard Dean, John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, et al), and even animal humans (PETA members who believe that killing six million chickens is morally indistinguishable from murdering six million Jews, radical environmentalists, etc.). And it is almost impossible to engage in rational debate with the adult child, who has the cynicism of a world-weary grown up but the wisdom of a child, or with the male-female hybrid, who possesses an emotionalized reason that is easily hijacked by the passions. This is not so much a disagreement between the content of thought as its very form.
Another, discussing the book, “Wimps and Barbarians,” by Terrence O. Moore:
Moore ties the phenomenon of wimps and barbarians directly to the culture of divorce and the absence of male role models in boys’ lives. “Half of American boys growing up do not live with their natural fathers. The sons of single mothers lack strong men to usher them into the world of responsible, adult manhood. Divorce, whether in reality or in the acrimonious rhetoric of the mother, impresses upon the boy an image of the father, and therefore of all men, as being irresponsible, deceitful, immature, and often hateful or abusive towards women. For sons, the divided loyalties occasioned by divorce actually create profound doubts about their own masculinity. As the boy approaches manhood, he is plagued by subconscious questions which have no immediate resolution: ‘Will I be like Dad?’ ‘Do I want to be like Dad?’ ‘What is a man supposed to do?’”
Now that I know it exists, I would have hated to miss this article. The comment section was good too. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the changes taking place in our culture and political system. I am that much the wiser for having read it. Bless the internet and the blogosphere. ◄Dave►
Update: 11/26/08 I suscribed to the RSS of the American Digest Blog after visiting yesterday, and lo today he reposted his “Voice of Neuter” post of 2006, which I referenced in response to VDH’s post above. ◄Dave►