I read the Poulos pieces. I found them both extremely difficult to understand. When I say that, I don’t mean it a ha ha funny way, I mean I actually found most portions the essays undecipherable. That his writing is pompous and pretentious is obvious, but that it is just plain unreadable is inexcusable. I mean, when I was reading them I kept asking myself stuff like “Am I missing something here?” “Do I need to work on my reading comprehension skills?” “Am I secretly stupid?” “Have I forgotten how to read?” Because–I swear–that mess just came off as something I imagine William F. Buckley writing after huffing some spray paint. It was almost poetry in its own weird, bad way.
SO, I was glad that Crooked Timber weighed in. The relief for me was learning that–assuming the author is correct in his interpretation– when I accidentally stumbled across a decipherable point Poulos was making, I was actually correct in detecting an actual point. Hallelujah! I’m not stupid or insane!
What I thought Poulos was saying in the most labored, pretentious, roundabout way was this:
Women, being all soft and sensitive and mothery and shit, should act as a civilizing force on men.
According to Poulos, men are brutes, sure, but they are the DOERS in our society. We women? We’re the sitter-backers and supporters of these brutish but brilliant creatures. Men, you go out there and follow your dreams. DO! SEE! CONQUER! CREATE! BE BRILLIANT! And when you get done doing, seeing, conquering, creating and brillianting, we’ll be here to pop out your babies and tenderly mop your brows. So that you may return to the battlefield of life. A battlefield that’s probably just a little too rough for us nature-bound mother-creatures.
Some astute comments from the CT thread include the observation that someone like Poulos would never think to ask what men are for or what Black people are for, because that would be deeply offensive. But I guess, in the end, we women don’t count as people, so his question is acceptable. Another commenter notes that what Poulos is hinting at is that women should essentially serve as a support staff for men. Put your dreams and ambitions on hold, ladies–THE MENZ ARE BRILLIANTLY BRUTISHLY BRUTING!
Before I wrap up, I’d just like gently remind people who advocate that women take a passive role in life that you cannot have it both ways. You cannot ask that women do “women’s stuff” and at the same time devalue and denigrate things that are thought of as “woman’s work.” A lot of woman’s work is dreadfully hard, boring, and unrewarding.
And we do not value it. We do not appreciate it. So perhaps we should we should address that before anything else.