I should have invited that guy over for tea and sex, right?

Camille Paglia is pissing me off again; the universe has righted itself at last

About a week before the horrible events that took place at Virginia Tech, I took a late-evening stroll to the gym. I planned on watching the Daily Show (we haven’t had a TV since the winter) while I sweated.

The gym at my apartment complex is a small space with a glass wall that reflects all corners of the room. When I got to the door and punched the code in, I noticed that the lights were off. I flipped on the lights, only to see a young man’s reflection in the mirror. He was standing in the corner of the room, head bowed. He was in his exercise clothes, so I didn’t worry too much at first – I’ve seen people meditate before their work-outs before. He looked like a typical Dukie – clean-shaven, with nice trainers and shaggy hair.

However, when I got on the treadmill, I noticed that he was staring at me. Staring at me, not in a curious or even flirtatious way, but staring blankly and forebodingly. Not a single muscle in his face moved. He didn’t care that I noticed him doing it. He just stared.

A quick glance around the room told be that if I ran out for the exit, he could cut me off in no time. So I stared back, and, after the charade had gone on long enough, asked him in a loud voice, “Am I bothering you?” He mumbled “no,” and went outside, only to stand at the glass door and continue leering. I didn’t even pretend to ignore him. I stared right back. He finally shuffled off, but I had the feeling he was watching me from the parking lot. When I emerged some time later, I saw him walking briskly ahead of me.

Camille Paglia thinks that if he had pulled a gun from the pockets of those baggy pants of his and shot me in the head, it would have probably been my fault, and the fault of hussies like me.

It makes perfect sense: here is a lonely weirdo who slinks around in the dark. Everyone around him is probably getting laid (never mind that promiscuity among college students and beyond has not been proven to be a major epidemic – that’s OK, who cares about verifying data? It’s a glamorous subject for pontificators on masculinity and Eros and the like). He tries to harass a girl (who looks like she’s probably getting laid – after all, she wore shorts to the gym), only to find himself rebuked. Time to splatter her all over that squeaky treadmill!

The sheer amount of people hitching their wagons to this particular disaster is nauseating enough, without someone like Paglia issuing pseudo-academic tripe on the subject. At least Tom Wolfe was entertaining when he set about dehumanizing undergraduates.

Paglia talks about women being shameless hussies, then turns around and essentially says that if only they had put out to Cho – 33 people wouldn’t be dead now. Paglia’s real problem is the notion of choice – “masculinity” (or, rather, Paglia’s version of masculinity) should not be constrained by women closing and opening their legs when and where they want to. Considering Paglia’s views, I’m almost surprised she hasn’t expressed some form of mild admiration for Cho; doesn’t he combine Apollonian coldness and efficiency with Dionysian fervour, or something?

A commenter on Feministe summed it up best:

Women are too slutty and men resent them for being whores.
Women aren’t slutty enough and men resent them for not being whores.
Women think they’re equal to men and men resent them.
Women are succeeding in college and men resent them.
Women are succeeding in the military and men resent them.

Women exist and men resent them.

I like to think of myself as someone who does not believe the tired mantra of “women are passive victims with no responsibilities.” But to try to make Cho’s case an example of some sort of larger issue of modern masculinity warped by sexually active women is just cheap.

The world is cruel to people with psychological problems – but most of them do not turn into mass killers. Call me a pessimist, but I think that trying to find a panacea for all this would only lead to another disaster.

18 thoughts on “I should have invited that guy over for tea and sex, right?

  1. “then turns around and essentially blames says that if only they had put out to Cho – 33 people wouldn’t be dead now.”

    Did you see the interview with the call-girl that Cho hired about a week before the shooting? Interesting stuff.

  2. Sorry I was staring 😦

    J/k erhm linking Cho’s insanity with pent up sexual frustration is not correct.
    The guy was considered mentally ill and a danger to himself and those around him a year before the shooting even happened.
    The fact is the US should reconsider it’s laws concerning the mentally ill.
    Especially when those considered mentally ill are buying firearms.
    I mean how on earth could a guy who was declared mentally ill and a danger to himself and those around him be able to buy 2 firearms?
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,266683,00.html

    Thats what at the very least should be changed.
    Since apparently banning firearms all together in the USA is like supposing banning Christmas or Thanksgiving.

  3. I find the attitude of the US to guns almost impossible to understand. This is no longer pioneer territory with bears to shoot. In my home country, South Africa, guns can be bought illegally and the amount of gun crime is far too high. It doesn’t bear thinking about what it would be like if guns were freely available.

    Your point about the staring guy, Paglia and Cho – well, exactly.

  4. I am the owner of a nifty little .38. On two occasions it has saved my life- or at the least it saved me from a severe beating. The first time involved a group of guys who broke into my house back when I was in college.

    At about 2 a.m. I awoke to the sound of them screaming in the hallway. As I opened my eyes they were turning the corner to my room. There were about five or six of them and three had weapons- including crowbars and an aluminum baseball bat. Luckily I had cleaned my gun earlier that night, so I had left it beside the bed. I rolled over, grabbed it, and was just about to put finger to trigger when they saw the barrel pointing towards their faces. I will never forget the look on their faces as they tripped over each other running out of my room and off the property.

    Sadly, about twenty minutes later, I got to meet the (unarmed) guy that had the misfortune of running into them after they left my house. He had two black eyes and at least one busted rib. My buddies and I bandaged him up and called an ambulance. Poor kid, his only mistake was being in the wrong place at the wrong time- walking back from the convenience store. He was still lucky though, they stopped beating on him because they thought they heard a car coming.

    That is just one time in my life where I’ve seen the difference owning a gun can make.

    This discussion reminds me though, I need to sign up for the concealed carry permit class. I had completely forgotten.

  5. Then again, the whole discussion is odd since objects are value neutral and only become good or evil based on their use. A gun used to save a persons life or to fight a tyrant is good, not because of itself, but because of its use. A gun used to kill innocents and to oppress the masses; these are evil purposes, but they don’t make the gun evil- only the men wielding them.

    I think we need to do a lot more worrying about the evils that reside within our own hearts than value neutral objects.

  6. On the other hand, guns give bad people more power to do bad things. I’ve had a gun held against my head before – not a pleasant experience by any standard. I still have nightmares about it.

    So I’m not sure where I stand, and I don’t know that I ever will be sure.

  7. Well you could start a war against guns in the USA.
    Sort of like your war on drugs.
    Of course you will always have that odd criminal that manages to get his hands on a firearm.
    But it would be expensive and very much more difficult to get your hands on one.
    You would also need contacts with gun smuggling networks/criminals. The price would also skyrocket.
    As for personal defense, you could use non lethal weapons like tasers or pepper spray.
    They are nasty but better then blowing a hole into someone.Here in the Netherlands we even ban knifes if the blade is larger then the palm of ones hand from being carried around.
    These days the police is also allowed to search people for these weapons.
    So often on weekends whole streets get blocked and everyone is searched for weapons before they go one their way.
    Anything is taken including bats or clubs.
    My dad owns an illegal firearm but with one clip with 8 9mm bullets.It’s not easy to just go and get more ammunition.
    It’s basically for self defense since he works with a lot of cash money.It cost $2000 at the time so it’s way more expensive.
    As for the second amendment, it made sense in the 18th century when the main weapon of armies were muskets.Today you have stealth bombers and main battle tanks and nuclear missiles.
    To have you overthrow an oppressive government with just firearms is not likely.
    Besides you always have the non-violent option or the Ghandi way of resisting an oppressive government.
    But it’s just not likely to happen in the USA, again it’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
    So at the very least you could restrict the purchase of firearms to those people who do not have a history of mental illness.

  8. “Of course you will always have that odd criminal that manages to get his hands on a firearm.

    But it would be expensive and very much more difficult to get your hands on one.”

    Bullshit. Guns are illegal in DC, but one can get one’s paws on one for about $250 just by popping down to a street corner in many neighborhoods. No ‘connections’ needed.

    If there was tighter gun control here, the South would still be segregated, regardless of laws forbidding it. In many communities in the South, the KKK was only defeated by people arming themselves in self-defense. That isn’t the 18th century, it’s recent history.

    By the way, it wasn’t too long ago that people were diagnosed with mental illness for being black and speaking out against white rule. Again, not the 18th century, but the 20th.

  9. Natalia any chance of pictures of you in a pretty dress?

    Erhm, yes black man you would never have gotten your rights if you weren’t capable of blowing the white man a few holes and scattering his brain matter across a wall.

  10. In some ways, yes. The US government was terrified of taking on the KKK, so it was left to armed self-defense movements.

  11. come on people… natalia rightly tries to move the discussion away from guns… and all you can do is bring it back to guns…

    yes, gun control does make a difference… but it is obviously not sufficient… so let us try and investigate the rest of the problem, shall we?

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