THE MASCULINITY CONSPIRACY

04: Relationships cont’d

with 4 comments

The other tendency with a book like Gray’s is to assume that because it has sold a gazillion copies there must be something of value to his argument. Otherwise, how could so many people be so wrong, or so gullible? Unfortunately, crap sells. Indeed, often the crapper something is, the easier it is to sell. I have a great example of this from my own chequered writing history. Back in 2001, I was sat at work reading a copy of The Bookseller and was shocked to discover that The Little Book of Farting had sold many thousands of copies in the three days before Christmas. With dollar signs in my eyes, I set about thinking up the most absurdly crap little book concept imaginable, and quickly settled on The Little Book of Toilet Graffiti. I went to a bookshop at lunchtime to see who published these kinds of things, returned to my desk, knocked out a quick proposal and emailed it to a few little book publishers. I sold the concept that same afternoon, which—as anyone who knows anything about publishing will tell you—is almost unheard of. Hot on the heels of this came The Little Book of Office Bollocks and The Little Book of Student Bollocks. Between these titles there have been translations into Spanish and Portuguese, and also an audio book.

What a success story. As the years have progressed, I feel confident that my writing has become better and better and the content increasingly important: however, it has also become increasingly difficult to sell to publishers. Now, with the writing at its most important, I find myself not even bothering with a publisher and giving it away for free. So, yes: when I see a book selling a gazillion copies it’s certainly possible that it’s very good, but it’s just as likely that it’s a pile of crap that plugs nicely into the oddities of the market with its strange desire for novelty books and, more importantly, a market which is under the spell of the conspiracy and requires books that validate and consolidate the conspiracy: neat, eh? While we’re on this point, and because I am more interested in getting you to think critically than to blindly accept my argument, contemplate how this text itself echoes the same process, plugging nicely into the oddities of the market with its strange desire for conspiracy books: neat, eh? Are you wondering yet if you are being duped? By Gray, DeAngelo, me, or all three? I hope so, because whatever the answer, this it how we will begin to explore some new territory.

In sum, the conspiracy operates through relationships in DeAngelo and Gray’s books in several ways:

  • Both expect men and women to behave and communicate in certain ways, and these expectations are met, even it involves discarding those examples of behavior and communication which run counter to these expectations;
  • DeAngelo’s whole model is based upon asserting power over women, which is a key aspect of how the conspiracy functions (and by extension over other men who choose not to act in such a sexually predatory fashion);
  • Both appeal to “research” or credentials to give the impression that their presentation of masculinity is of a credible nature.

CONTINUES >>>

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Written by Joseph Gelfer

December 14, 2010 at 3:31 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Your talk about the market and its “long con” reminds me of this piece: http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2013/05/dove.html

    My forays trolling around in a marriage forum have revealed to me very sad examples of the self fulfilling prophecies of the conspiracy playing itself out in real people’s lives. A sex life turns into a battleground, often with the wife hiding in her foxhole from the repeated coercive attempts of the husband to get the amount and type of sex he feels his marriage contract obligates from her. She, in turn, responds as all sentient beings do to coercion, with resentment and further withdrawal. Then the pair turn to counting out all the material and emotional transactions which they believe total up to prove they have been wronged. Meanwhile, the mutual “filthy fun” you described earlier recedes ever further into impossibility.

    The conspiracy sounds to me like the venereal version of “The Wetigo Virus” http://www.awakeninthedream.com/wordpress/
    Worse, it is nurtured in the early attachment and homelives of us all. Because “masculinity”, it seems more and more to me upon reading your book, is more of a Hume-ian grunt of approval/disapproval. Basically, the answer to “What is ‘masculine’?” is “What Daddy was like.”

    I am particularly disturbed by the overt and direct instruction/infection of the conspiracy/virus that can be found in fundamentalist homes that use authoritarian discipline on their children and “Domestic Discipline” on their wives, all because of “biblical” gender binaries.

    Anonymous

    July 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    • Good points. There are many similarities between conservative Christian views on gender and the “alternative” views expressed by the conspiracy vectors: the latter are more disturbing to me as they frame themselves as countercultural while actually perpetuating mainstream values.

      Joseph

      July 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      • I wrote too soon, I went on to read the next few pages and you covered all of what I said, only better.

        I do share your disturbance with the “countercultural” vectors of this disease. In fact, I arrived here via researching the abusive guru scandals at Integral–who apparently all blog at HuffPo and get passed around as fb memes by my new age friends. The appropriation of Crazy Wisdom by control freaks annoys me a great deal since I align myself a lot with the archetypal Fool/crazy person (and on constant alert against my own inner control freaks).

        My particular interest in the whole DD thing comes out of trying to understand why the christofascists are so…fascist. Why are they so infected with Wentiko? Why do they traffic in the conspiracy so intensely and wage war against women’s reproductive rights, health care, protection from and justice following rape–the list goes on. I am struggling to expand my perspective, which aligns for my own reasons squarely with yours. If what is in one is in the whole, then I, too, am unwittingly propagating the conspiracy. In the past, that took the form of angry debates and rants, which seek to win the game as an underdog. If Compassion is the only law, then I must somehow find compassion for myself for being part and party to the virus, and some sort of transformative compassion for its perpetrators. Every time I behave in a child-like way with my household finances or expect my husband to behave like my idea of A Man, I am complicit. At the same time, by hating the patriarchy, I feed it. I have not found the right way to tough love it effectively yet. That is, love it without affirming it. Love its passing away? I am reading onwards to discover more pearls of wisdom in the pages ahead.

        In any case, I very much appreciate the work you have done and shared so generously.

        Anonymous

        July 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm


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