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Subject: Re: Who wants a fight?
From: Neil McEwan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Neil McEwan <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 8 Jul 1999 18:38:20 -0300
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At 07:18 PM 7/8/99 +1000, mike brown wrote:

>Neil,
>
>>From one intelligent guy to...a Canadian. Based on your observations of
>life, the cartoon world I live in seems alot more realistic than the Mary
>Poppins world you exist in (I asked who wanted a fight!).


   Well Mike, if the gloves are off may I ask how extensive is your
acquaintance with people of African descent, given that they are not
numerous in either Wales or Australia?  When you refer to them being
lynched all the time (!) are you not actually attempting to refer to
blacks in North America, and if so, could you tell us exactly what you
know about life of any sort in North America, other than what you see
on the telly?


>I'll admit that the concept of 'power' can be problematic - there are many
>different theories.


   How very heterodox of you!  Almost open-minded, but not quite.


>However, the concept of it that I'll stick with here is the one
>which tackles your assertion that there aren't any classes with it, or
>without it. This is clearly absurd. You can walk home from a night-club at 3
>in the morning in a totally different frame of mind to that of your
>girlfriend, sister or mother.


   How so, given that as a man I'm twice as likely to become a victim of
violent crime as a woman is?  (Check the stats).


>Likewise, if a women is sexually assaulted the
>legal system (dominated by men) takes over and defines what rape is etc.


   Yes, and the men insist on a lot of nonsense about the rapist being
innocent until proven guilty, due process of law etc.  The bastards!


>Men dominate all forms of discourse in our society (do you dispute that
>knowledge is power) such as science, philosophy, religion etc.


   I do dispute that knowledge is power -- access to knowledge is not the
same thing as access to power.  Ultimately power rests on force, and force
is not necessarily going to yield to a superior education.  As far as men
"dominating" discourse, what exactly are you referring to -- that they set
the preconditions that the vast majority of women appear happy to go along
with?  I don't notice that huge numbers of women are substantially unhappy
with "science, philosophy, religion" etc. (there seem to be more women than
men in churches and universities these days for example).  I suppose they're
all suffering from "false consciousness", like those Welsh voters who won't
support Plaid Cymru?


>Brother, the language you and I both speak puts women into the margins
(eg. >'man suckles his young from an early age' type of language).


   Nonsense.  This is a literary device known as "metonymy" and is used
extensively throughout the English language -- referring to QEII as "the
Crown" doesn't mean we're marginalizing the head and shoulders she puts
the crown on, when we say "all hands on deck" we're not asking for a series
of bloody amputations, and similarly nobody who talks about "the future of
mankind" is referring to a world without women.


>You will no doubt be thinking of exceptions, such as having a third dan
>black-belted sister who carries a sub-machine gun. But the reason or symptom
>that causes fear in women still exists.


   What on earth makes you think that women, on the whole, are more scared
of life's problems than men are -- or have more reason to be scared?  Isn't
it actually the case that when the casualty rates are totted up, it's more
dangerous to be a man than a woman in our society, and that if men aren't
continually articulating their fear and despair it's not because everything
is A-OK for them but because they are not encouraged to do so?


>Likewise, you say that you have no power and want no power. This choice is
a >form of power itself.


    Having no power is a form of having power -- what was that I said about
"heads-you-lose, tails-I-win" logic?  As it happens, I'm making exactly the
same choices as my wife is making -- and she was a woman last time I checked.


>Can you really argue that if you decided to aim high in public/commercial
>life, that you wouldn't enjoy a significant advantage over many
marginalised >groups?


    Can you really argue that I would?  Again, this is where thinking of
people as belonging to monolithic racial or gender groups has led you
astray.  There are important *personal* reasons why I would never succeed
in public or commercial life, for example because I have a low tolerance
for stress and small talk and submitting to authority.  So if I were to
"aim high" I would never succeed, because it would become very apparent
that I couldn't do the job required of me.  I know this and am quite
content to live a quiet happy life instead.  Now, are you honestly going
to allege that the only reason that there are white men out there who are
unemployed or poor is because they're not trying hard enough?  Are you
actually a Thatcherite where white men are concerned?


>Life is a struggle for most of us. Otherwise, how do you explain the many
>civil right movements in our society (not many white middle class male
>activist groups though).


    Well there are, but of course they are known as "hate groups".  They
are however activist in the sense that they have a predetermined list of
political aims that they are working towards.


>Just because you had a female Jamaican boss doesn't prove your argument


    And just because you never had one, or just because they don't fit into
your Grand Unified Theory of Oppression, doesn't prove your argument either.


>(I hope your professor didn't teach you how to prove the
>norm by citing the exception - that's a law professors trick!).


    By "the exception" I take it you believe that I'm the only person in the
history of Canada ever to have had a black woman as a manager?


>How many female Jamaicans are there in your parliament?


    Two I think -- which is proportionally just about right.


>Back to things celtic. This comes round full circle. I still stand by my
>assertion that to be a Gael and anti-English is not the same thing (in terms
>of political/cultural consequences) as it is to be English and anti-Gael.


    It is the same morally.  What is your conception of morality, Mike?
That if they do it to us, it's evil and they're bastards, but if we do it
to them, it's OK and we're the Chosen People?  This is the recipe for
conflict and chaos, and always has been: see for instance Northern Ireland.


Neil
--

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