The Right-Wing Radicalization of Young Girls

Something wicked is brewing in conservative America.

Gust

That’s a cold wind blowing in!

The same culture wars that birthed incels have impacted the girls who won’t date them just as much.

Our refusal to draw mothering into the fold leaves a lot of girls feeling conflicted. Feminism fails them as long as it ignores the more nuanced questions of many women’s lives. 

Jen at Fundie Fridays knows a lot about it, “The misogyny on Caitlin’s channel is rampant and direct. She often uses the same talking points as incels when expressing her worldview.”

Using Mrs. Midwest as her pampered example, Jen walks us through Complementarianism -You know, how God made men and women different to complement each other. But of course, in practice this is just plain old submission in fancy clothes.

After laying down the basics, Jen kinda glosses over a lot of what Caitlin says. She describes domesticity as, “acknowledging that women are superior to men in regards to maintaining the home.” Oops, that almost sounds empowering!

Jen lays out classic gender roles with a scoff, because obviously cleaning isn’t genetic. All women do not have a desire to be feminine.

But what if you do? It’s pretty sexist to say that all femininity is patriarchal garbage, isn’t it? It has to be feminism’s job to figure out where they stop and we begin, but Feminist Theory isn’t interested in this.

Gender is a social construct, but it’s based on observations. I think the science really is more complicated, in the interplay of temperament, sex, genetics, and choice.

And, well, some girls are girls. And they’re not wrong.

Sewing Doll Clothes

Sewing is a valuable skill!

I guess Jen doesn’t see this as a serious line of thought, as she lets Caitlin speak for herself: “Our culture really celebrates masculine traits when they’re seen in women …  So, it feels like, in order to be a good woman, you have to be really masculine.”

Embracing womanhood used to be a lefty thing. Libfems having outlawed all such talk for having TERFy vibes, where do we expect these women to go?

“But what do those women do, those women like me? I don’t wanna be a Boss Babe, I don’t wanna be ‘grinding.’ I wanna be a wife, a mother, run a household.

“What does a woman like that do, when she feels so marginalized? Where does she go?”

Cue Mr. Crabs playing a tiny violin. Stay classy, Jen.

But Caitlin reminds us of the Hero’s Journey, Professor Joseph Campbel’s famous archetypical adventure story. Boy does a thing, becomes a man. He’s often rewarded with a woman for his trouble, you know the drill. We’ve all seen it a thousand times.

I have been bored with it for years. As a 37-year-old mom in a sharply blended family, no one is telling my story. I’m lead to believe no one else is interested, and we’re all too busy, anyway.

Jen doesn’t address any of this. Instead, she shows off a blush pallet.

She chooses purple because she’s “The Purple Bitch.”

Cut back to Caitlin pretending to hold up angel wings for improved posture. 

Jen works pretty hard to make Caitlin look silly, which is weird because Caitlin doesn’t need the help. But it does a good job distracting from what she’s saying.

After having described the masculinization of women, Jen paraphrases Caitlin saying society treats women like breeding cattle. 

She’s careful to point out that it’s fundamentalists who do this, but then lets Caitlin say that women should be free to choose a life as a homemaker or in the workforce. “And both things are honorable, because we truly support all women.”

“Yep, you just described feminism, Caitlin.”

“I don’t know where that got mixed up, but I think ‘all women’ includes homemakers.” Caitlin emphasizes this logical flourish with a self-satisfied snicker. 

Jen is clearly annoyed by this, really laying it all out: “You know what, Caitlin? I’ll do you one even better – Feminists believe in equality for everyone!”

Oh boy, here we go. 

“That includes sex workers” Ooh, edgy! “Transgender folx, people who are incarcerated, neurodivergent friends, people without homes, those with disabilities, intersex and non-binary people, any member of the Alphabet Mafia, immigrants, those who get abortions, people with addictions, asylum seekers…”

Madame Painter

Hold still, it’s hard to get all that in the picture!

That sure is a mighty long list of random stuff. I think I even saw a women’s issue in there!

Jen is spelling out for us how feminism has become a garbage fire of social movements. Of course we believe in equality! But feminism is concerned with the issues facing females!

…Oh, wow, I am tired of saying that…

“And, believe it or not, people we disagree with also deserve rights.” This is the surreal moment where liberal feminism reminds me of my born-again Aunt. Then, after a little feminist history, she accuses Caitlin of “talking out of her ass.”

“Feminist theory is an actual thing that you can study. It’s not just a fucking buzzword for you to throw around.” Academic feminist theory turns lesbian separatists into gender ideologues. Why should we turn to it for answers?

Please don’t misunderstand me – I’m not siding with Conservative Barbie. The ‘tradition’ she represents is that White Colonialism we’re all still scarred from.

The incels were easy pickings for the Alt-Right. Racist ideology gave them an explanation and a direction for their rage. And both groups share a love of a mythical past.

But wanting kids someday doesn’t have to mean a return to Traditional Values.

It’s a cruel trick to frame women’s reproductive urge in terms of caveman ethics. “By taking the Red Pill and rejecting social justice and progress, [they think] they’re accepting a harsh truth – that the people of the US need a structure that was in place before any social progress was made.”

Leave the modern lie and accept the truth about life‘ would be much harder to sell if libfems weren’t lying to them!

Right in the middle of it all, Jen has her hubby give us a vocabulary lesson.

He looks quite a bit like my husband, actually, and he does a decent job making his granular material entertaining. He’s not condescending, but I could not let the irony go by without commenting on it!…

When Jen takes back over, she brings home the Tradwives’ number one message: “Women are stressed in their jobs and their education because their real destiny is to be a homemaker.

Maybe if feminism didn’t reject its own past every generation like Mom’s hand-me-downs, young women like Caitlin would know we’ve heard this line before.

“This is particularly dangerous coming from someone like her.” Because Caitlin is a Role Model.

Jen reads us a couple worrying fan letters from young women. She tells us we need to be mindful of the radicalization of young girls online, as well as boys.

“And it’s worthy

to examine why young girls might find her message so appealing.”

More than worthy, it’s urgent! The last ten years showed us what soaking up this kind of subtext-heavy indoctrination can do.

But Jen only takes us halfway.

“Perhaps they feel special being coveted by white men like that. Being told that they will save the world by having beautiful white babies”

TRADITIONAL WHITE FEMININITY IS LITERALLY AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR WHITE SUPREMACY.

Wink

Get rich enough, and you could have your very own pasty, uptight prima donna!

I could have sworn everyone knew this! White women are precious commodities on the world market. White men have made it their mission to protect us from all the mudbloods, remember?

You simply cannot traffic in one without bumping into the other!

There’s a retro fashion community on YouTube full of creative, off-kilter people. Many of them are seamstresses or costume designers. All of them boldly wear what they like, fashion be damned.

The community has a motto: Vintage style, not vintage values.

These adorable history buffs feel the need to distinguish themselves from fascists in their opening line because there’s a lot of confusion out there. ‘Tradition’ was the name fascism went by for a long time. 

‘Traditional womanhood’ can be seen in Nazi propaganda movies. ‘Traditional womanhood’ is a mother for the war machine.

But this itself is a corruption of the mothering experience. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it!

Jen isn’t interested in where babies come from. “A lot of these women believe they have been cheated out of the … homemaker life,” she says with disdain. 

But we have been! Womanhood Classic is out of production. The old fallback of housewife, the role we have avoided and scorned, isn’t even an option anymore. In this economy, no family can sustain itself on just one income. 

Things are bleak out there for young women, and everyone is lying to them! People on both sides do it all the time, glossing over anything interesting in favor of poking fun at their opponent’s flaws.

Shallow negativity on both sides makes a logical decision impossible. So we go with our gut, which is easily lead. And it hits inexperienced and distracted young people even harder.

Each side is telling us the other is the problem. But the real villain – Capital – doesn’t want to be called out, and it owns everything! Feminism has always been a favorite scapegoat, despite women doing the lioness’ share of the shopping.

Jen does quote a really good New York Times article, “Tradwives also point to the ways that the half-finished work of the sexual revolution has brought about not just male but also female discontents.” But she doesn’t go anywhere with this.

Instead, she leaps right back into that weird, suppressed Pick-Me attitude liberal feminists have when they’re enforcing The Rules, “Gosh, if only incels could figure out that the real Red Pill is realizing that gender is a social construct and that chaos is the general order of the universe.”

I still don’t understand why gender being a social construct means we should completely reorder society around it. 

Thankfully, the Times continues, “[Conservatism] is a lie, of course. Modesty has never been a safeguard against degradation or rape.”

But even the New York Times won’t tell you that Jen is lying, too. After all, who is welcoming to the feminine woman? Bimbo TikTok??

Caitlin’s emotional expression of feminine homelessness is the note of truth the whole rotten symphony is tuned to. Alienation is what drives young men to extremes, and women aren’t that different.

Ball Gown

I know this isn’t appropriate for a Zoom call, and I don’t care anymore!

And many of us do want these things! Liberal feminism dismisses feminine women as brainwashed. I definitely got the message growing up that any girly tendencies were embarrassing. 

As adults, we are pitied if we don’t have our own income. The media talks about Career Women, but mothers just tell you to keep a job.

But not everyone wants to run with the boys. Tradwives offer many young girls something that speaks to a part of them that feminism has ignored forever.

The idea that housework is work should be a powerful feminist ideal! I stumbled into a traditional lifestyle, and have enjoyed it much more than I ever expected.

Feminism should be reaching out to these young women. They will need us when they start to see who they’re dealing with: “At present, these shared dissatisfactions haven’t helped the alt-right recruit significant numbers of women because, quite simply, the men cannot keep their seething misogyny in check.”

Jen is right to pick on Caitlin. She and people like her are painting a rosy picture over some truly horrific things. They are directly informing the future of our culture. We need to confront this ideology where we find it, just as much as Trans Rights. 

Motherhood is the original feminist tool. It’s time to reach out to the girly girls.

Opposing Choice Feminism Doesn’t Make Me Anti-Choice

The current model of Choice Feminism is riddled with problems.

Dumbbell

I’m gonna feel the empowerment any minute, right?

In radfem and GC spaces, we take them as a gimme. We understand that many of the alternatives we throw around are older than any of us, that radical feminism is not a reaction to Choice Feminism.

In our sheltered enclave, it’s easy to forget how confusing it is out there.

French YouTuber Alice Cappelle takes on some meaty subjects with a laywoman’s perspective. She lays out details and liberally quotes others, while admitting she doesn’t always know where she stands on things.

Critical analysis is like any hobby – Easy and fun with the right tools and a little practice. But no amount of skill can fill in one person’s limited toolset. No one can see everything, and education takes time.

I sympathize a lot with Alice’s intuitive approach, and she gave me something that I haven’t found anywhere else.

She quotes Meghan Murphy, “‘I believe we are beginning to forget where choice came from, and what it means.'” Alice sums up Meghan’s point, “I think what she means is the concept of choice in feminist movements used to be much simpler.

“It was about choice over marriage, choice over divorce, choice over career, choice over [our] bodies.

“Now a lot of feminists – usually white feminists like Murphy,” An interesting digression, from one white lady to another. I guess she’s contrasting Meghan with the subjects of her video, Cardi B and Emily Radakovsky. Two WOC who utilized self-objectification to escape poverty.

Because white women never do that.

The urge to virtue-signal is strong, I guess. Just another example of how identity politics divides us.

But her next point was what really got my attention: A lot of feminists … see the situation right now as a reversal of those gains, a subversion of what choice really means.

Alice does show us a little of her thought process, “And that implies that we need to restrict that choice.”

Long Underwear Better

Not exactly the perfect fit!

It seems the linguistic link between ‘opposition’ and ‘opposite’ isn’t limited to English. This is the kind of invisible mental bias that can trip up anyone.

“Or act in a way that there is not even a choice, so regulate self-objectification or the ways in which female sexuality is represented in the media.”

Her rebuttal is as fleshed-out as her straw man, “The problem is that, without choice – as flawed as it is – we’re perpetuating this idea that women cannot decide for themselves.” But… choice good!

“Which is a very patronizing attitude!” Could not agree more. And I have never seen a GC feminist say any such thing.

This is the factual opposite of what feminism is about.

This is the definition of a conservative mindset. Personally, I don’t like it when conservative women call themselves feminists, it’s claiming to be an oxymoron. But with identity politics, anything is possible!

Feminism is pro-choice in its essence, recognizing women’s agency the only real entry fee. But I think we’ve found another node in the TERF connect-the-dots game! 

I’m not sure how the meaning of feminism became so diluted. I know none of the older women in my family knew or cared much about it. They were Modern Women with a midwestern conservative bent, leaving my sister and me easy pickings for liberal social movements.

Radical feminism gives us a third way, firmly rooted in material reality. Setting us free from the two-dimensional false choice of Liberal vs. Conservative.

Alice goes on to address race in her video. I’m still working out the details, but hingeing analysis on personal identity atomizes the large groups that political movements need to be effective. Your personal identity is beside the point.

Taking race out of the equation actually evens out application of social programs. Educating and feeding poor children should have nothing to do with their race. 

Cardi B becoming a stripper to lift herself out of poverty is a sad story for me. And once the floor is open to identity talk, someone will make the point about how ‘ableist’ beauty standards are – Our narrow definition of ‘hot’ is the real problem! – and distract from the issue. I have been around this block so many times!

Elegant Conversation

Ramps in strip clubs would go a long way to achieving equality!

Cardi B has no interest in escaping her identity. She performed as a human sex toy to escape from poverty.

But Alice turns to infamous race-baiting tome American Apartheid for context. She describes how even Woke sociologists insulted black people’s humanity, and the collective middle finger they got in return. “Yes, it’s true, using self-objectification doesn’t sound super-feminist. 

“But it also sends another message, that you can rise in society and earn as much money as the people who oppressed you or the men who neglected you.”

This is actually a good articulation of something else that’s been bugging me: Cultural subversion is a powerful tool for social change, even if it doesn’t immediately change anything.

There’s some debate about how social change drives political change, but it’s definitely the more organic route. Feminism as a social movement needs women being unapologetic in public.

Feminism as a political movement has forgotten why she started all this in the first place. What is a woman, anyway?

We Need To Talk About Separatism

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I had no idea what separatism was.

Doing some long-overdue digging, I learned it’s at the root of the weed that’s choking modern politics.

Weeds

Ugh, I should have pulled these ages ago!

Research Is Safe And Fun!

I quickly found myself lost in a dense, dry old bramble. Kathy Rudy’s tale of joining a ‘radical feminist’ group is littered with breadcrumbs along the trail into the political wilderness.

She describes the lesbian community she joined in North Carolina in 1980. They put separatism first, theorizing among themselves about an ‘essential female nature’ that inevitably reflected their own experience.

The fate of their community is a perfect example of the destructive potential inherent in building our politics on identity.

This snapshot of separatist lesbians is a portrait of the familiar cultural character: “People dressed mostly the same, ate the same foods, cut their hair the same, had the same social activities.

“The strength of our community was built on the very vulnerable assumption that being lesbian was enough to hold us all together.” 

A Case Of Mistaking Identity For Reality

But right from the beginning, their pool was impossibly shallow – “By claiming the shared status of victim in male, heterosexual culture, we thought we could overlook or deny racial, ethnic, religious, class, geographic, and many other differences.

“It became clear very quickly that fractures and problems existed at many different levels.” 

No one’s identity can be completely contained by one label. Political movements should not try to define people this way, because it doesn’t work!

A movement without roots in physical reality (lesbian is more something you do than something you are) has no external definition. Founding your politics in subjective identity is sowing seeds in sand.

“The first signs of these fissures … manifested themselves in conversations about what counted as a real radical feminist.” This sounds very familiar. The quickest way to reinforce a social group is to draw a big, black line between Us and Them. 

Both sides of the larger political argument have been preoccupied with this for ages.

“We started asking each other to declare primary or even sole allegiance to ‘the women’s community.’ We began policing ourselves in order to guarantee that our members were faithful to the principle of putting women first.”

Modern liberal feminism and Queer theory! The parallel is uncanny.

As the torrent of difference continued, smaller tributaries overwhelmed their shallow unity: “It had become clear that most generalizations about women did not hold true, especially across racial, class, or ethnic lines.

“African American lesbians and other lesbians of color told white radical feminists in no uncertain terms that the female nature they had theorized did not represent difference.”

I never caught how exactly they defined this ‘female nature,’ but I may have missed it tangled in the bramble. Maybe she didn’t think it was worth including, since apparently the existence of black women shattered it completely!

“Thus, throughout the 1980s, the lesbian feminist idea of a unique female nature slowly began to grow thin, to lose substance and texture.”

Pink Bouquet

I don’t get it – Every time I isolate them in this bowl, they die!

This is what happens when you behave as if what you want overrides what is. As if observation is what makes the world. It strikes me as pretty narcissistic, but that flows with every stream from that period.

The extreme version of individualism that was fashionable at the time put blinders on the psyche. How else do you explain such jaw-dropping naivete? “The writings of these women demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the special attributes we had associated with womanness actually described only the womanness of whites.”

I cannot imagine how they managed this but, their amazing trick exposed, the community crumbled pretty quickly. Kathy went to grad school, and spent some time having what had happened figured out for her.

She lists many books from the late 1980s and early 90s and quotes them extensively.

First, Kathy brings in Alice Echols as her adversary, saying Radical Feminism Is Dead. Then, without realizing it, she tells us how radical feminism died.

How Radical Feminism Classic Died

“Echols argues that in focusing their politics on lifestyle issues, feminism after 1973 was void of serious structural potential.

“By the early ’70s, radical feminism began to flounder and, after 1975, it was eclipsed by cultural feminism” – The creation of women’s communities like the one our author joined.

“Although this woman-only space was envisioned as a culture of active resistance, it often became an end in itself, where patriarchy was evaded rather than engaged.

“The focus became one of personal rather than social transformation.”

Yep, that sounds like pretty much every insular group ever. A distant threat becomes a memory, and the urgency fades. But Kathy identifies with none of it.

“Echols comments on … the late 1970s, ‘More than ever, how one lived one’s life, not one’s commitment to political struggle, became the salient factor.'” Political struggle meaning push for material change in the physical world.

This turn inward sucked all the life out of RadFem Classic.

Kathy defends RadFem Lite by describing their shallow isolationism, We were not socialists, because we believed that too much focus on things like workers and owners would suck us into the muck of patriarchy.

“We were not Marxists because we believed that true liberation accompanied the transcendence of men and the material realities they had created.”

No shit! But how does turning your back on the problem solve anything?

Black Pussy

Don’t worry, Lady Ravenclaw – We don’t need anybody!

“We were not interested in building coalition with men. We wanted only to organize our lives to be free of their patronizing dominance.” Politics is hard! Let’s skip to the good part!

But she brings in her favorite writers as backup. “In her later works, Mary Daly explicitly challenged the validity of materialist and socialist politics from a radical women-centered point of view.

“For her, feminist activism should be centered on the poetic quest of finding a female reality deeper than that created by men.”

Ok, I think I’m starting to see what those black women were talking about.

Personal Identity Excludes Everyone

Which brings us to the spot where feminism intersects with the larger political world.

I am definitely not black, but I have spent my life bobbing in and out of the working class. I recognize the blind privilege of insisting the most important thing women can do for our liberation is to search for female reality.

Female reality is the reason liberation is necessary! Kathy does a great job describing the problem without ever recognizing what she’s looking at.

“The introduction of difference between women pointed out the weaknesses inherent in building a politics on a cross-racial, cross-cultural, unified identity of ‘woman.'” Introducing race and culture into the equation is the mistake, not the woman part! Blunting the edges of material analysis with personal identity padding turns a scalpel into a club.

Politics shouldn’t be about your personal background, no matter how big your group is. Political movements need to focus on the material effects of the system.

Material Reality vs. Personal Reality

Many black people live in poverty, but many of them don’t. They are not even the majority of poor people, but ‘poor’ has become code for black.

Set aside for now how this completely ignores poor people of any other shade –  This is the kind of confusion that grows from rooting your politics in what kinds of people are affected by the system instead of what’s happening to them.

This gives asshole politicians language to rile up poor whites against their black neighbors. Harping on the differences (which are only sorta real) while distracting from the uncomfortable truth of their own situation.

And coding social issues along racial lines causes an overall decline in civic engagement.

To cultivate real change, we need to draw a hard line between the identity politics salting the ground of public discourse, and material politics rooted in quality of life.

The Physical World vs. Our Perception Of It

We can see the difference between the physical realm of politics and the mental realm of social movements in the persistence of their effects.

Dandelion

Observing cause and effect without personal judgement lets us manipulate things!

Something like race only affects your life as much as people think it does. Race doesn’t actually make a person smarter or stronger. Science has shown race to be a phantom of the human mind, a lot more cultural and not as real as people once thought.

The material aspects of our lives, on the other hand, don’t depend on how people perceive us. Class has measurable effects on intelligence and health. Sex obviously has a big impact on our lives, and its existence is definitely not subjective.

But Kathy is unable to find a straight path, so her studies only lead her further into the weeds.

“These feminist theorists prodded us to question our attachment to radical feminism’s stable category of woman.” Then you should have thrown them away! Woman is such a stable thing that we all came out of one!

We clearly exist, and this woman did not get her money’s worth from her graduate degree.

“To think of women’s liberation as an event involving ‘women only,’ they said, was not only to miss the complexities of oppression, but it was also to assume and posit the very category that itself perpetuates injustice”

Way to blame the victim. Kathy went from lesbian separatist to queer theorist in a decade, and it’s really fascinating.

Radical Feminist, Political Lesbian, Or Queer Theorist? …Who Can Choose?

One of the most interesting things is that she describes radical feminism and political lesbianism as basically the same thing! “Marilyn Frye captured the sense in which this turn to women was … [how] a new world would be built … becoming a lesbian is a reorientation … a kind of conversion.”

But this sexy diversion was extremely important: “Rather than squelching mobilization, we see lesbian feminist communities as sustaining the radical feminist tradition and bequeathing a legacy to feminists of the future.”

She tries real hard to link her experience to the blooming Queer community ten years later, but all of it begs the question – Who is making these future people?? 

Other women, of course! But we’ve seen how alternative perspectives are too much for her to handle.

The end of the story is sad, but very instructive: “For many, the outcome of these struggles was often segregation.

“Additive identity politics allowed us to feel comfortable only when talking with people from our own ethnic, racial, class, sex, and gender backgrounds.”

True Unity For Real Progress

But class cuts across all the others. Like sex, it touches everyone. It physically, literally shapes our lives, whether we like it or not. The resources available to us growing up have a cascading effect on our entire lives.

But like race, class is only as real as we make it.

The blurring of ‘poor’ and ‘black’ created cover for nurturing hidden racism. Desperate people have been lied to for generations, and robbed while they yell at their neighbors. But give poor kids better food and the differences between them and their richer peers start to disappear.

Give the world better food, healthcare and living conditions, and the stratifications begin to erode. But comfortable people have time to start talking about Justice and stuff.

Identity politics destroyed Kathy’s isolated lesbian community because that’s what it does. Dividing us up into smaller and smaller niche categories until we are each an Army of One.

Building our politics on material change is how we unify the movement. It’s also how we shield ourselves from Woke woo. It streamlines our message and simplifies our goals.

And separatism can be a useful tool for this.

What Is Separatism, Really?

Separatism is not living away from all men and centering everything on our identity as women – Because each of us will experience that a little differently. Separatism is establishing strong boundaries that keep men out of certain physical spaces.

You know, like we already do.

Important Meeting

Well, now that’s settled… Where were we??

The completely reasonable and practical approach outlined in Jocelyn MacDonand’s 2015 Feminist Current article is to broaden and strengthen this.

She also quotes Marylin Frye, “Frye explains that feminism is a philosophy, not for, but against inclusion.

“The dominant paradigm says, ‘Men have a right to women’s bodies, to women’s labor. Women are invited to participate in public life to the degree that we, men, decree.’

“Feminism says, ‘No. That is not the natural or inevitable order of life on Planet Earth.'”

This is a pretty good summary – We want our say in the world as equals. “And here’s the really important part: “This separation being initiated or maintained, at will, by women.”

“It’s not about advocating for an island of lesbians cut off for eternity from half the human race,” No, apparently this pesky vine has its roots in the disintegration of politics over the past 50 years.

“Rather, it means we say when the walls go up and for how long, who passes through the gate and who waits outside.”

This is power. This power wielded by women is feminine power, no special costume necessary.

Because when we focus on the material world, our course of action becomes clear. We need to build a wall between the political movement of women’s liberation and the many social movements we’re invested in.

Your experience of womanhood is as integral but distinct as the rose on the bush. Watering blossoms isn’t going to get you anywhere.

If radical feminism is about getting at the roots of female oppression, let’s be clear what we’re digging for. Just one of many tools, separatism is elemental to our liberation.

Boomer Bust: For Us To Grow Up, You Have To Get Old

Bill Maher makes a great Boomer spokesman.

Sitting halfway between Bill and the Young People I think he’s yelling at this week, I remember his firebrand image from 25 years ago.

You're Kidding Me

The more things change, the more you stay the same!

He’s always spoken for that segment of liberals who fancy themselves independent thinkers. They made a big splash as the new kids in town, when I was a kid. But the turmoil of the past quarter-century hasn’t triggered any growth as they became the dominant force in American liberal politics.

Think of them as liberal Libertarians – People who are Democrats because they want to avoid the Right’s racism and sexism, even if they’re not really interested in social programs. Identity politics is the perfect strawman they can slay over and over to avoid doing any collectivism. And it has many forms besides Wokism.

In his New Rule segment, Bill coos about the ‘transformative’ Biden administration. Biden is so on top of things, Bill declares him a disappointment to Comedy!

Then without warning, he pivots from kissing ass to wagging his finger at us.

“Yes, he got better at 78. What a mind-blowing concept that must be to the younger generations, for whom writing someone off simply for their age is the last acceptable prejudice.”

Shots across the bow! Someone called Dad irrelevant and now he’s gonna rant about it. Because controlling the framing of an argument is almost as good as winning it.

“You ever go down the greeting card isle at CVS? Every card for anyone over 60 has the same joke – ‘Happy birthday, I’m surprised your dick hasn’t fallen off!'”

Personal bitterness drips from Bill’s voice as he explains that it’s time for America to grow up and recognize “the most fundamental trade-off in life: You’re beautiful when you’re young and wise when you’re old.”

Ass Is Showing

Your ass is showing!

I’m sorry, who gave the world Youth Culture?? Sure, children were the future, but all that’s in the past, you say? What a convenient arc for people right around your age, Bill! 

Boomers have glorified their own disdain for their parents forever, while finding endless rationalizations to avoid really taking responsibility themselves.

But Bill manages to faithfully describe how experience adds up over time. Despite his condescending tone, I admit the difference between understanding this and experiencing it is bigger than it looks.

“Biden is the right man for this moment precisely because he is old – Been there, done that.” About the same age as Bernie Sanders, if I recall. And no one really wants to talk about some things Biden has done, the campaign showed us that.

“He’s getting things done that keyboard warriors only dream about,” Hey, getting a little personal there, Bill! “while muttering, ‘OK, Boomer.'” Sounds like someone on Twitter got you in a tizzy! But it really is gonna be OK, I promise.

“And yet, instead of finding Biden’s age an asset, it was his biggest obstacle.” Have you considered the possibility that America is tired of looking at the same old white guys who were Hard On Crime in the 1980s?

“In the run-up to the last election, 37% of Americans were unabashed about telling pollsters they flat-out wouldn’t vote for someone over 70.” Millennials became the largest voting bloc in 2016, but Trump was definitely not our President. Maybe it’s time to let someone else have a turn.

“Is there anything more piss-ignorant than not using old people as a resource?”

This is rich, coming from a guy speaking for a generation that turned its collective nose up at anything it didn’t invent. Don’t trust anyone over 30 sounds a lot more cutthroat when you’re 65, huh?

Wink

Don’t worry, it’s not up to you!

He trots out the trope of elders being respected properly around the world, while we tap ours for “Tik Tok pranks.” 

Then he drops the kernel of truth that probably gave him the idea for the segment:You know why advertisers love the 18 to 34 year old demographic? Because it’s the most gullible.”

Earlier he described how some larger patterns in life only become clear given time to repeat. I’ll be 38 this year and I’ve learned more in the past decade than I knew at 18.

But then he goes right into fearmongering about Dumb Yoots again. We want to abolish the police and 36% of us are Communism-curious! Oh, and we like tattoos! The latest version of the Crotchety Old Man gets extra comedic value from his refusal to admit what is happening.

“But much of the world did try [Communism.] I know Millennials think that doesn’t count because they weren’t alive when it happened.”

Bill’s well-loved truth bombs have been disarmed by this lack of self-awareness more and more as the years go by. The accusation of historical relativism is hilarious, considering The 60s will never die!

Don’t even mention their disproven, upside-down economic ideas. Like, really, don’t bother. It won’t get you anywhere.

“But it did happen.” Did it? I mean, sure, the Cuban government owns the means of production, but it was also one man’s personal army for 60 years. Hand the reins of government to an authoritarian, and he’ll give you Authoritarianism. Steam versus diesel becomes irrelevant with a maniac at the wheel.

“And there are people alive who remember it.” But I’ve always heard if you remember The 60s, you weren’t really there!

Seriously though, this Sage Elder act is pretty damn funny. Draw upon me as a resource! Right, so you can complain about how much we rely on you, in between our part-time jobs.

Fell for that one before! Besides, you don’t need our help finding things to complain about.

Fishing

A little busy over here!

Bill is stepping forward as the mouthpiece of a generation that neglected to learn anything the Greatest Generation tried to teach, because they were too busy changing the world.

They have always insisted on their own authority, one way or another. First, they were the wave of the future. For 40 years, they were simply in charge. Now we should listen to them because they experienced the past.

Nevermind how any of that actually went.

Millennials were weaned on tales of peace marches, disco and Reaganism, even as they faded out of view. We have lived our whole lives in Boomer World. Is it any wonder we’re not asking for your opinion?

“The problem isn’t that I don’t get what you’re saying or that I’m old. The problem is that your ideas are stupid.”

Such eloquence takes me back to my playground days. Bill apparently doesn’t see the irony of telling someone to grow up right before insulting them. The original teenagers aren’t dealing well with getting old.

Lumbar Stretch

By the time they’re done, I’ll be old too!

The strong Get Offa My Lawn vibe continues to build, and Bill gets very specific: “Maybe I get Twitch, I just think people watching other people play video games is a waste of fucking time.”

First of all, the difference between a break and a waste of time is how interested you are. Fun for its own sake is vital to mental health, for varying definitions of ‘Fun.’

And Boomers are the ones watching 5-plus hours of TV every day, but I’m sure Bill is OK with that.

I’m beyond tired of lectures about how I spend my time from a generation that pioneered the use of alternative pharmaceuticals in everyday life.

Over the past 40 years, they let the infrastructure crumble. Turned the telecom system into a Kafkaesque nightmare. Hoarded wealth then complained when anyone asked for anything.

All while crowing about their legacy. They changed the world, man! Sure enough – They tossed out the shreds of culture their parents could remember after 15 years of depression and war, and replaced them with whatever they felt like!

And while Bill and his buddies were off mining Truth, the worst elements took advantage of their absence. Even the brightest among them was easily bought with praise and creature comforts.

Because, at the end of the day, the Baby Boomers are the most spoiled kids who ever lived. I’m sure if pressed, Bill would blame his schoolyard lingo on his adversary – You started it!

No, we didn’t. You were here first, and you’ll never let us forget it.

Feminism Isn’t For Everyone

The irony of feminism supporting transwomen smacked me in the face today.

Epiphone

Why didn’t I see it before??

Hatshepsut, the ancient Egyptian queen, has joined the long list of dead women transitioning recently. You’d think 3,000 years would be too old to matter, but no corner must remain Unclean.

Amnesty UK even stepped in a few months ago to make it official!

Joan of Arc has also been popular lately. Because why else would a young woman traveling with men through enemy territory wear pants, right?

Katherine Hepburn wore pants, too, so she’s on the list. Despite never claiming to be a man in all the hours of footage and interviews and books.

The strong, iconoclastic women of the past are being rewritten. It’s been in the chatter for a while, Hepburn was nominated in 2006.

“Her great passions were for men,” Hepburn biographer Bill Mann says in this Advocate article. “Men who, on some level, she wished she could be like. She admired masculinity a great deal.”

Sounds like some good, old-fashioned internalized misogyny to me.

James Barry, the Irish-born British Army surgeon, did live as a man. During a time when women were forbidden from higher education. Following her dreams took a bit of dressing-up, which is pretty relatable, really. 

From ancient rulers to movie mavens and even Greek goddesses, no woman who pokes her head above the crowd is safe from being transformed into a man these days.

The olds are speaking up to share some perspective. My personal favorite was an Ovarit exchange, “They act like their ideology didn’t appear less than 20 years ago.

“When I went to high school, there were about 1,000 kids. Zero trans. I’m sure some weren’t out, but there were maybe 5 lesbians, 3 bi girls (myself included) and 2 gay guys.”

Another user summed up: “‘BuT iT’s MoRe SoCiAlLy AcCePtAbLe NoW!’ No, it’s a narcissistic fad.

This tracks with my own experience. As a boy in a girl’s body in 1998, I felt completely alone. Social contagion isn’t the only driving force here, but it’s definitely not helping.

Even back then, mainstream feminism was not equipped to tackle this stuff. Materialism and instrumentalism were what got me through, although I didn’t know what to call them then.

I kinda came at feminism backward, following the thread of female identity out of the woods. I have a lot of sympathy for those who are confused.

But this Wokeist idea that feminism is for everyone is toxic, stifling garbage! Last week my own little mini-mob was sure to bleat that if I don’t support transwomen, I’m not a feminist.

It’s both easy and fun to inform them that I stand for women, and confused men aren’t.

Throw Him In

Lemme throw around some of this extra weight middle-age brought me!

But what are women these days? A meme made the rounds saying ‘cis’ women don’t have arm hair. “If they do, they have a hormone imbalance or are trans.” A few of us had a good chuckle – Who believes this crap?

Then I got to thinking about the massive generation coming up behind us, even more confused and less supported. Imagine you’re 12 reading this, just old enough to know you know nothing and probably afraid to ask.

You might shave your arm hair, to hide that hormone imbalance you’ve obviously got cooking. And you may begin to notice how many other women have it.

But instead of reminding you to relax, that all women have body hair and maybe it’s not such a big deal, you’re shocked at the number of transwomen you see. Transwomen who look just like regular women, just like you keep hearing they do.

And being ‘cis’ looks less and less appealing anyway, as the list of things women can’t do just keeps getting longer!

Rule a country in traditional garb? Clothes make the man. Command armies? Very butch, darling.

Change your look to enable your career? Obviously only someone with Man Essence could possibly do that!

Arm hair? Man. Pants? Man. Short hair? Masculine as fuck. 

Why should feminism support transwomen, when trans ideology is factually, literally erasing women from the world?? Not just from the present, but the past and future, too!

Cleo

I’m sorry, you want me to give you… what??

I don’t know how much more obvious it could be – Trans rights are not women’s rights.

To be a Woman in trans ideology, you must perform femininity properly (Daily Updates where available!) and be fine with it. Anything less, and you might want to look into non-binary status. Unless you’re male, of course. Then Self-ID is all you need!

Funny how that old double-standard is still there, isn’t it?

Add this to the pile of reasons that gender is nonsense. It gives me the same kind of headache as rearranging algebra equations to equal zero. All that work for nothing!

Even if, through some evolutionary or spiritual disaster, transwomen were somehow actually women in any meaningful way, their movement is suffocating us. In pulling focus to identity – Away from material reality –  they are pulling us into an endless maze of smoke and mirrors.

The transing of the dead is like self-insert History fanfic. The same impulse that drives them to invade every forum, sewing circle and support group pushes them to possess anything good ‘If I want it, it’s already mine!’ – and compete with anyone unlucky enough to be around.

Whatever doesn’t fit the narrative gets ignored. Simone De Beauvoir’s line about becoming a woman gets trotted out every so often, but De Beauvoir’s writing is unfaltering in its female rage. Rage stemming from certain material realities that chemistry helps us modern females forget.

But I suppose it’s only a matter of time before De Beauvoir will have become a woman because she was really trans, too.

They have even found a way to reinterpret Andrea Dworkin for their own purposes. Or snippets, anyway. Most of her writing isn’t about them either, she and De Beauvior are just ugly and mean. Because women having anything to ourselves is an absurd notion.

Bloodletting

Just say when!

At the end of the day, they still want to own us. Those who ignore the protests of women and girls at having our spaces infiltrated and our spots taken have failed to make it to the next rung of social evolution. We’re seeing all the confusion and rage that comes with feeling lost in your own society.

Women are not going back into the cage without a fight, and some of us would rather burn the whole thing down. The old tricks stopped working, so patriarchy came up with new ones. It really is that simple.

Feminism is not for everyone because feminism is about setting women free from the rule of men. This goal has obviously not been achieved, so the fight goes on.

The world is full of struggles, and feminism intersects with them all because women are everywhere.

But Mommy needs to put on her own oxygen mask first.

Pockets And Women’s Liberation: Why Not Both?

“All this time, we have been quietly permitting society to convince us that, in discarding the torturously repressive corset, we have definitively thwarted the patriarchal hold over female liberty Once And For All…

“While in actuality, our material freedom has been gradually snatched from right under our noses in the form of expensive jeans with fake pockets requiring additionally expensive handbags!

“Do with that information what you will.”

Self Portrait

Oh, snap – A challenge!

It sounds too simple, but the erosion of women’s pockets through the 19th and 20th centuries follows our struggle for liberation. The more autonomy women have, the fewer and smaller the pockets.

Bernadette Banner’s brief history condenses our struggle into a single point – The harder we fight, the more privacy gets taken.

Seated primly before the camera, dark hair scraped back from her magenta jacket, Bernadette clearly knows what she’s talking about. The video is a collaboration with Yale Press, publishers of The Pocket: A Hidden History of Women’s Lives.

She speaks passionately about the “vast spacial luxury we were once afforded.”

The switch to sewn-in pockets has been so complete, removable pockets sounded weird at first.

But until the 16th century, everyone’s pockets were basically little flat bags tied to a belt and tucked under your clothes. Men attained sewn-in pockets in the early 1500s, while women continued wearing the older style under their many billowing skirts.

The thing is, pockets are pretty simple. They didn’t change much for a very long time. And for about 200 years, women seemed to like their tie-ons just fine.

Bernadette explains how they were made of different materials and personally decorated, “As they weren’t always seen, there wasn’t pressure for them to adhere to very specific designs according to fashion and to change them out according to the season.

“A pocket is a personal item, worn next to the body and often out of sight. And, perhaps most importantly, is representative of a material autonomy that many women, for much of history, were not able to partake in.

“The items kept in a pocket were personal, concealed, and uncontrolled by anyone but the wearer.”

Sewing them into the clothes made them more secure, but less personal. Being part of a garment meant they had to follow its form, and that form usually worked against us.

Long Underwear

Where the hell am I supposed to put pockets in this?!

Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792, and the demand for better treatment only grew louder. Naturally, fashion in the early 1800s took a sharp turn toward slim silhouettes, making pockets less private.

The inevitable accessorizing of handbags was rejected at the time as, “Not a fair representation of the substantial pockets which our ancesstresses wore; they were proper pockets.”

At least that writer had cultural memory to base an opinion on. We have forgotten so much!

Working-class women kept on wearing their handmade tie-ons, but trend chasers had to work harder and harder to keep their pockets from spoiling their Look. The feminine conflict between looking good and carrying your stuff was born.

The pocket switch for women’s clothes really took off around 1850, coincidentally just as the Industrial Revolution was making ready-made clothes affordable. Suddenly, a young woman with a job could buy more clothes than her mother ever owned!

In the 1880s the invention of the bicycle opened up new horizons, sparking a pretty serious anti-feminist backlash. It’s hard to imagine bikes being controversial, but no detail seems too small for patriarchal meddling.

“The latter part of the 19th century also sees a relative slimming of skirt silhouettes. Primarily during the last decade, the area across the hips in particular becomes so tightly fitted as to complicate the wearing of a tie-on pocket.”

No privacy for you, ladies! During this same time, women were gaining admittance to higher education and the marketplace, as well as clamoring for the vote. Is it a coincidence that merchants and thought leaders – All of them men! – might find reasons to constrict us in other ways?

Call me paranoid, but it got pretty ridiculous. “It was also quite common to hide pockets in hilariously illogical places, such as in the center back seam in late ’90s and early Edwardian skirts. Pockets could live under ruffles or drapes, even near the hem, just to ensure that one did always have at least one pocket, despite complex fitting restrictions.”

Thank goodness! I was nervous there for a second.

Jealous Moll

I sure wish I had a pocket for all this loot!

Supposedly, women’s pockets dwindled because manufacturers found them unprofitable. Strange that men’s clothing makers didn’t think of this, why throw money away?

Victorian women wrote quite a bit about how few pockets they had. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote three essays herself. “But pockets of this period were still mind-bendingly large to our modern sensibilities.”

Bernadette takes out a phone, a book, a bag of snacks, a water bottle, and a man’s pipe – All out of one skirt pocket!

The tie-on didn’t really die until the dawn of Modern Era, around 1900. Young women rejected them along with corsets and petticoats.

But putting our pockets in the hands of manufacturers left us with no control over how they’re made. I’m not saying I want to hand-sew all my own pockets from scraps, but add tie-on pockets to the list of practical female-centric clothing you won’t find in any store. 

“So, how did our pocket problem somehow get worse? How did the dilemma progress from just number to rapidly diminishing pocket size?”

Bernadette has one, opaque answer to this all-encompassing question: Fashion!

The demand for slimmer and slimmer silhouettes took every nook and cranny for keeping things. But she admits that even modern skirts and women’s coats lack storage, and somehow men’s tight fashions compensate with pockets in other places.

She even suggests men have never been required to carry handbags because they are easily stolen.

“People wearing feminine clothing in the 21st century are instructed that, in order to be ‘fashionable,’ our natural bodies must be a particular shape. And fashion forbid we obscure that, even just enough to be able to store a mobile phone!

Fabric

The shape of my body is none of your business!

Because if a woman keeps something private, she has a secret. Every inch of personal space is hiding something. The more independent we are, the more scrutinized we are. You know, to make sure we’re using our freedom right.

And if a man can’t own you, he should at least get an unobstructed view of your butt, right?

Fashion is not your friend. What if we treated Fast Fashion like Fast Food, and learned to make our own at home? Sewing is another girly thing we gave up to join the Boy’s Club, but what if there’s more to it?

 

Twitter Mobs: Just Another Day In TERFLand

I knew something was up when I woke up to 19 notifications.

Waking Up

The Woke won’t wait for coffee!

They had me right – A smallish account with only so much energy to defend myself. But they just really hated my Cyberpunk article!

After the original poster proclaimed it was “NOT ok to insult anyone because of their opinion,” a group of them wasted no time dogpiling me to tell me why my opinion meant I needed to die.

Hardly bothering with ‘transphobe,’ they labeled me ‘vile,’ ‘disgusting,’ toxic,’ (of course!) and even abusive. My writing was referred to as “a pile of dog shit.” I was told to take ‘feminist’ out of my bio. And called a bigot and a fascist, for good measure.

The tortured reasoning behind TWAM = Fascist could fill its own post. Most prominently displayed, however, was the classic actual fascist crosstalk of Enemies being both Big&Bad and Sad&Pathetic.

I’m a bigoted fascist spreading lies that get people murdered. And a loser who no one will defend.

It’s true – Only a handful of people came to back me up. After months of reaching out and jumping in, this did sting a little.

Beach Body

My friends will be here any minute… Really!

The real problem was I was sick as a dog, chasing my toddler around the house between trips to the bathroom.

I got frustrated a few times, but I think I held my own for the most part.

And considering the quiet from feminist Twitter – with the fact that even my web developer is scratching his head wondering where the numbers are – I have to wonder how they found me at all!

There were three main skirmishes in the battle.

#1 insisted misgendering the author of the Cyberpunk 2077 review meant I wasn’t a feminist. Wasn’t interested when I pointed out the burden of proof lay with the person claiming something extraordinary.

Then there were the two furries – A purple-haired wolf and a grayscale… puppy, I think – First the wolf pounced with insults and tumbled quickly on to threats. When one intrepid soldier brought up biology, he became fixated on cows, “Cow tastes good when properly cooked … You’d make a good roast, maybe a casserole.”

After he called me a Nazi, I reminded him that probably meant he’d lost the argument.

His friend Grayscale informed me this was “a common misinterpretation of something called Godwin’s Law.”

Mansplain much? Now let me define ‘glib’ for you.

Dandelion

Like seeds in the breeze, the minutes of my life… blow back in my face!

The third volley came from a Canadian transwoman. Most confusing of all, this person was very conversational while telling me to go fuck myself.

When I shared a different transwoman’s article I had featured because she made a good point, they actually went and read it!

And hated it, of course. But I gotta respect doing your homework!

After swapping swings for about a day, I was confused why we were talking if they hated me so much.

“I never said I wanted to talk to you!”

I guess you got me there, but you were the one who struck up this conversation.

Overall, not the most fun ever – 2/10, would not recommend. I prefer being mobbed on Facebook – That drives more views to the blog.

I guess Twitter mobs aren’t interested in supplemental reading (Except you, Canada, love you babe!) Despite making connections and learning a lot, I’m not sure what to make of it all at the moment.

It’s been a demoralizing few weeks, stair-stepping setbacks carved into my flat numbers. The sick was a weird sick, too, where I just can’t get myself to eat or wake the fuck up.

Thursday the sick and the mob both dissipated as suddenly as they had appeared.

None of this changes anything, of course. Except maybe how much time I spend on Twitter.

Men still can’t decide they’re women. The law saying otherwise doesn’t change how humans make more humans.

But the best part is that, unfortunately for them, I don’t do this for attention. I don’t do this to express hatred. I’m aware that I’m not famous or important.

Vanity

When you finally find the person who is going to give you everything you want in life

I do this for my own mental health. Because sometimes, the only way I can properly process some bit of insanity, and stop it rattling around my brain knocking things over, is to write it out.

Sometimes they make the blog, if I don’t see anyone else hitting the same angle.

It’s sublime when it reaches someone, but I write for myself.

…And any other magpie minds out there prone to picking up the shiny things along the edge of the path. This week’s regular post waits for pictures and editing.

Costume historian Bernadette Banner tells us how pockets reveal the state of women’s liberation. Because knowing the past lets us understand the present, and plan the future.

 

After The Tide Turns, We Should Get Busy

The other day, I was reading that same discussion again.

“I can’t wait till the tide finally turns and all these loudmouths on the Trans Train will get their just desserts!”

“Yeah, I think about that, too. But I’m afraid the world will just pretend it never happened.”

Flower Seller

What 19th century Worker’s Movement?

This goes against the gut feeling of Justice, but the pessimists have a point. How many times have we had something completely off-the-charts insane splashed across our screens, only to have the News Cycle churn onward and nothing really happen?

Off the top of my head, the Panama Papers come to mind. Wealthy and powerful people all over the world exposed as nothing more than elaborate hoarders. Hoarders of the wealth generated by the resources of a world we all share.

Really, the fact that Wikileaks hasn’t drastically changed our Standard Operating Procedure speaks volumes.

There’s the Trump administration bungling the pandemic response because he wanted to ignore it. He really seemed to think that if he downplayed it hard enough, long enough, we’d all just forget and he could get back to winning. Considering how often shit like this happens, can we even blame him?

After a hellish year, the bleakest light is finally breaking through the clouds, and general chatter does seem to have moved on. I’m as sick of talking about Trump as anyone is, but I’m not a Judge! Someone ought to be following up on that. 

I could write a neverending series on this topic. The media may try to forget, but I find that people remember. We’re just convinced no one else does.

But speaking of following up, Trans Rights cannot be added to this list.

Truth Coming Out Of The Well

The Truth will set us free, but first it will piss off the world.

When that wave crests and breaks and falls away, plenty of those left high and dry will try to pretend they just like heights. We can’t let them get away with it this time.

The RadFem community needs to take this new fire stoked in the struggle and spread flames of truth everywhere. I know we’re tired. It’s been a long slog so far and no one can say how long this spell will last. Or how far its tendrils will reach.

But we have to hold tight. Reality is a TERF. Fight the Good Fight and, when it’s over, be ready to be front lines for cleanup. It might even be refreshing after years of being relegated to the margins for ‘transphobia.’

Take good notes now, we have to remember and provide receipts when the time comes. You wanna talk about Cancel Culture? Hypocrites, begone!

Integrity is our strongest weapon against those who have none. If we come prepared, the moment for flexing will be epic.

Regressivism: Let’s Call Them What They Are

Tribalism has really gotten out of hand, hasn’t it? Everything must be on one side or the other in the Culture War, no front line is too remote.

Flaming Cross

Oh, no – They found me!

But tossing everything in two huge piles throws together things that have no business anywhere near each other.

The simple dichotomy of Conservative = RepublicanProgressive = Democrat has shown itself inadequate for a while now. For one thing, a ‘conservative’ is someone who wants to conserve things as they are. But this makes the Biden administration’s Back-To-Normal schtick a little weird, doesn’t it?

Repulsive as they are, Republicans are the ones getting creative. They filibustered more bills during the Obama years than in all of US history up to that point put together. Not exactly traditionalists.

No, the Dems are the ones pretending it’s 1996 forever. Bernie Sanders’ offer to bring us into the modern world was crushed, then swept aside as if we didn’t all see it happen.

But words mean things. A ‘progressive’ is someone who works for progress toward an egalitarian ideal. To create a new world, you have to shoot for the moon – Even if you miss, things will improve here on earth.

The US doesn’t have a Progressive party, the Democrats have made sure of that. Those who are agitating for change don’t want progress.

The so-called ‘conservatives’ are dragging us backward. Who would have guessed we’d be going up against actual Nazis 80 years after they lost? The MAGA slogan calls back to an imaginary time, yes, but Progressives can only imagine a safe, democratic world.

MAGA’s mistake is looking backward – If only we could return to our ignorant past, things would be better! is an absurd statement on its face. That hollowness is the ring of fraud. We all know what returning to the 19th century would mean for most of us.

Things like progress and conservation are pretty self-evident when the sheen of Marketing is scoured off. ‘Progressive,’ ‘socialist’ and ‘liberal’ have become dirty words in some places, but these are just descriptors for schools of thought.

Modern life has forged eager students.

Candelabra

I hear these woods are haunted, but someone salted the field!

It’s time to call out those who want to strip us of our hard-won rights for what they are: Regressivists. They don’t just want to conserve the status quo – They’re talking about a pre-modern era, winding the clock back over 100 years!

For our own good, of course.

Naming a problem shines light into dark corners. A Regressivist is anyone who clings to the Neoliberal ideals that have burned up the beating heart of our society.

The Regressivist is the one torpedoing change with Culture War firebombs. That social safety net might help someone you don’t like!

Regressivists are the ones so wrapped up in their identity – Be it Trans, Christian, Libertarian, Marxist, whatever – that they lose touch with material reality. 

They’re the bad-faith debater with the preconceived notion that somehow always comes back to women’s subjugation.

Most importantly, calling a Knave a Knave walls them off in their own toxic little corner.

Not everything about modern western culture is garbage, and change for no reason isn’t progress. Some things are worth conserving. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

But with only two categories, this kind of talk gets you the side-eye even from your friends. You’re not secretly Conservative, are you?? Fear echoes in the chasms of relentless political earthquakes. These days, you never know who’s gonna say something crazy next.

Even questioning any of the cascading changes can get you accused of heresy, but not all change is good.

And no one trying to roll back abortion and voting rights is conserving anything!

Let’s call Regressivists what they are! Let’s claim some space to discuss what actually needs to change, along with what’s already working. It shouldn’t be controversial to say I don’t think society needs to abandon everything that existed before 1960.

This will also make it easier to tell who’s who – Drawing a line between vanilla-lovers and chocolate-haters makes the difference obvious. Preferring a traditional lifestyle doesn’t have to mean judging how anyone else lives.

But having only two categories makes shallow details feel deep. It pits people against each other based on personal choices that are actually irrelevant to collective debate.

Ladies In Masks

Oh come on, since when did collective action ever help anything… right??

Those of us who want to move forward can come together in mutual hatred of Regressivism. Let’s wall the reactionaries off, away from the rest of civilization where they belong.

The US is lost in a funhouse of corporate prisons, lobbyists and apathy. I’ve heard that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results but, as the American Dream slides into myth, eventually frustration will spill over into action.

Unless the egalitarian left pulls itself together, that action will take the form of more authoritarian power grabs. The quickest way I know to unite a group is against a common enemy.

We’re facing off against people who use language as camouflage.

Calling them what they really are lets us see who we’re really up against, as well as who we’re not.

US Counterintelligence Plays Divide&Conquer With The Left

Ever wonder why so many of the people arguing with you seem brainwashed? Wonder no more!

Artemis

I have tons of practice hitting a moving target!

Gabriel Rockhill lays it all out, but his article isn’t getting the attention it deserves. That’s probably because it’s a slog to read, but it’s as important as it is wordy.

He tells us about a declassified CIA report that describes exactly how the Agency helped to mastermind the current mess:

In recognizing it was unlikely that it could abolish [the left] entirely, the world’s most powerful spy organization has sought to move leftist culture away from resolute anti-capitalist and transformative politics toward center-left reformist positions that are less overtly critical of US foreign and domestic policies.”

After all, who better to mount an all-out assault on leftist thought than the biggest counterintelligence agency on earth?

The link is dead now, I guess the report got moved to a more convenient location. Rockhill’s post is four years old, and his eloquence clearly didn’t ring the alarm bells it needed to.

It’s no coincidence that our progress feels hollow, and we find ourselves grappling with ghosts of enemies past. A philosopher at The Sorbonne himself, Rockhill describes the Agency’s “cultural program of coaxing the left toward the right, while discrediting anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism.”

The CIA seems to have planted operatives everywhere to push this agenda – “the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), which was headquartered in Paris and later discovered to be a CIA front organization during the cultural Cold War, was among the most important patrons in world history, supporting an incredible range of artistic and intellectual activities.”

A CIA front organization was among the most important cultural patrons in world history. Let that sink in. Give an artist a gallery – Voila! Instant capitalist. Even art galleries need to pay the bills.

Eve

His forked tongue is a protected disability!

The agency for US counterintelligence obviously takes this part of its job just as seriously as the more glamourous stuff like coups and assassinations. It had offices in 35 countries, published dozens of prestige magazines, was involved in the book industry, organized high-profile international conferences and art exhibits, coordinated performances and concerts, and contributed ample funding to various cultural awards and fellowships, as well as to front organizations.”

And it gets worse! Not content with consumable media, the Agency has boldly wrapped its tendrils around the pillars of modern thought.

The CIA’s program of psychological warfare … has always been keen on understanding and transforming institutions of cultural production and distribution.”

This makes a lot of sense. Anyone can tell you what to think, but culture tells you how to think. It’s pretty logical that an organization set on bending the world to its will would be manipulating cultural institutions.

“The Agency went behind the back of the McCarthy-driven Congress in the postwar era to directly support and promote leftist projects that steered cultural producers and consumers away from the resolutely egalitarian left.

“In severing and discrediting the latter, it also aspired to fragment the left in general, leaving what remained of the center-left with only minimal power and public support (as well as being potentially discredited due to its complicity with right-wing power politics.)”

Sound familiar?

Rockhill specifically mentions the influence of French theory in Academia: “In descriptions that … should invite us to think critically about the current academic situation in the Anglophone world and beyond, the authors of the report foreground the ways in which the precarization of academic labor contributes to the demolition of radical leftism.

A liberal professor is only as liberal as the job market will allow. Because we’re all chained to capital, given more or less slack as the Market sees fit. 

Not only does their program mirror the issues blossoming in Trans ideology, the report specifically cites our old friend Foucault!Foucault … is specifically applauded for his praise of the New Right intellectuals … reminding philosophers that ‘bloody consequences’ have ‘flowed from the rationalist social theory of the 18th-century Enlightenment and the Revolutionary era.'”

Head On A Platter

Alas, King Louis! What an asshole…

True enough! The Enlightenment taught people to think for themselves. Dynasties were toppled and the old world order eventually came crashing down at the beginning of the 20th century.

They managed to put some structure in place to replace it before the Great Neoliberal Experiment knocked the whole thing off the rails.

Not everyone wants a peaceful, democratic world.

“Foucault’s anti-revolutionary leftism and his perpetuation of … the claim that expansive radical movements only resuscitate the most dangerous of traditions … are perfectly in line with the espionage agency’s overall strategies of psychological warfare.

Rockhill reminds us how French intellectuals earned a cutting-edge reputation through challenging mid-century conformist impulses, but points out it came at a price: “The theoretical practices of figures who turned their back on … the tradition of radical critique – meaning anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist resistance – surely contributed to the ideological drift away from transformative politics.”

It sure looks that way. The lameness of the left has been a topic of conversation for derisive right-wingers and disappointed liberals alike for a long time. These days it’s pretty hard not to notice there are basically two lefts, especially in feminism.

Just last month, Professor Donna Hughes published on 4W,The American political left is increasingly diving headfirst into their own world of lies and fantasy and, unlike in the imaginary world of QAnon, real children are becoming actual victims.” Her university denounced her as ‘anti-trans,’ of course.

Because Trans Rights forms a perfect muzzle for independent thought, radical or otherwise.

Baking Weirdness

Something definitely feels very wrong here!

We’re all sadly familiar with how crazy things have gotten. The CIA sure is. But the best part about that report perfectly describing it all? It was published in 1985! That’s right – The biggest counterintelligence apparatus in the world actually seems to have set about creating this insanity on purpose!!

So, if you can’t shake this nagging feeling that Something had to be behind how quickly all this has happened, Congrats! You’re probably right.

It’s hard not to be cynical with some of the things we have learned in recent years. Formerly famous so-called conspiracy theories proven true. Governments overthrown and regions disrupted by disgusting backroom deals and horrifying murders. That’s just the stuff we know about, and very little has been done about any of it.

Socialist thought has been marginalized my whole life, thoroughly smeared as authoritarian by decades of propaganda from all sides. Just because the Soviets weren’t really socialists wasn’t going to stop the US from seizing a golden rhetorical opportunity.

This is not to discount Rothblatt and Pritzker’s contributions, and everything Jennifer Bilek has uncovered over at her 11th Hour blog. No, I’d wager the Agency has lent a helping hand here and there, whether the Transhumanists know it or not. Considering the different ways the Agency was undermining the left 35 years ago, it’s clear that Trans Rights fits the bill perfectly.

Trans ideology has proven to be very effective at splitting and discrediting the left.

Leopard Kisses

He’s only looking after my interests!

Why wouldn’t an agency dedicated to fostering bullshit liberalism to torpedo the left actively support Trans Rights?

Their size, influence and resources would explain how it was able to pop up all over so fast and effectively. But the most important question is – Why?????

Seems not everyone is cool with the idea of The People running things. We are easier to exploit for money and power if we’re ignorant and fighting. Some among us actually prefer a world where ‘Despot’ is a potential career path.

A savage world works for savage people.