I completely missed Kim du Toit's essay The Pussification Of The Western Male back in November 2003 and the nuclear explosion of reactions (both positive and mostly negative) to it. Well, I finally did read it and generally had no reaction to it. Neither positive or negative. Obviously he was very passionate about it. But I couldn't get passionate about it. Disturbed, I called Master Kim and had him read it. After he read it, he said it is a "very passionate essay by a good writer". But he had the same passionless reaction to it.
Want to know why? Hit the link and read the entry.
I must hear some version of this spiel once a month, generally from some self-consciously leftie male between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two desperate to prove his authenticity, present his down-with-the-people, fuck-the-Man bona fides. This despite the fact that Ikea was explicitly founded on the premise of providing well-designed furniture to the masses at affordable prices - a premise that the company still largely delivers on. (If I have a quibble, it's with quality, not price.)
You know what? I'm done with it. If your life is mediocre, I promise you, Ingvar Kamprad didn't make it that way. You did. And if you're so desperate for your own soixante-huit moment that you can sit there with a straight face and tell me that you're being oppressed by flat-packable pine furniture with goofy pseudo-Scandinavian names, I'd advise you to spend a few days working with child slaves in the Sudan, or something.
And they call me snarky.
Want to know why I find the two pieces similar? Link. Hit. Read.
Which might be annoying, but much less so than just linking something without providing either a title or a quote, a practice that I find. . . annoying is too mild a word, actually. The real bloggers do that sort of thing, but I never claimed to be one of them.
I prefer the context-providing Rebecca Blood style (although this may not be the best example of same):
Lakoff's Second LawVoters vote their identities, not their self-interest.
Don't just do something. Stand there.
(Um, Elayne, does that sound familiar to you, or is it just me?)
And Steven Pinker
Human sociality is a product of conflicts and confluences of genetic interests. Our relationships with our parents, siblings, spouses, friends, trading partners, allies, rivals, and selves have different forms because they instantiate different patterns of overlap of ultimate interests. History, fiction, news, and gossip are endlessly fascinating because the overlap is never 0% or 100%.
And also some riff-raff like John McWhorter
In a context of widespread literacy, easy communications, and a large class of people with ample leisure time, the social movement that begins by addressing a concrete grievance will, after the grievance has been largely addressed, pass into the hands of persons inclined for individual reasons towards the dramatic and self-righteous, who will manipulate the movement's iconography and passion into a staged indignation difficult for outsiders to square with reality, and with little actively progressive or beneficent intention.
He's subtle, that one. Like a heart attack, or preemptive nuclear strike.
For my own self, I usually hit indy coffee shops (or at least local chains) due to the same hippy impulse that has me buy books at Women & Children First even when I could get 'em cheaper (and in the case of special orders, faster) elsewhere.
Speaking of which, it's warmed up a bit and there's a copy of Joss Whedon's Fray 'round the block with my name on it down there. Later for y'all.
Bonus link, found in the trackback for S-Train's entry, feministe: What I'm Reading Since I'm Not Writing. A title so nice, I wish I'd thought of it first. . .