Saturday, September 29, 2018

Boys will be Boy and Girls will Self-Objectify


Today was the lengthy Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in which both the accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and the accused, Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh give testimony about Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

What makes a high schooler think that he has the right to lure a girl into a bedroom, lock the door, turn up the music and, as his inebriated buddy eggs him on, tries to take off her clothes and have intercourse with her against her will?

Some commentators reacted to the Kavanaugh case with the old ‘Boys will be boys’ excuse. Really? Boys might be rough or break things, but as far as I know, the definition does not include trying to rape a girl.

Kavanaugh’s nauseating actions, if they are true, are the result of what some of Kavanaugh’s high school peers described as ‘a widespread culture of sexual objectification of women’ at the all-male prep school that Kavanaugh attended. But before you can sexually objectify a person, don’t you need to objectify her first, to treat her like an object?

Objectification *

According to my favorite philosopher, Dr. Martha Nussbaum, there are several ways to treat a person as a thing:

The first type Nussbaum calls ‘instrumentality’, i.e. treating a person as a tool for someone else’s purpose. The second type is called ‘inertness’ , which means that a person lacks autonomy and self-determination, so you can do what you want with her, like one of those sex dolls. Another way to objectify is to treat someone as interchangeable with someone else of the same type, like models on a runway. Read more...

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Historical Analysis of the Trump Phenomenon

My friend Dr. Paul Ten Have, retired professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam, keeps sending me Dutch articles about the evils of Trumpism. For example Trump Plunders Public Property.

This article describes the damage done to our national parks and to the environment by the various measures introduced by the Trump administration to (re-)open many areas for industrial exploitation.

Much of what Paul sends me is old hat. Dutch intellectuals and the Dutch media are apparently unaware that there is a vast domestic resistance in America - one which I believe comprises a majority of Americans. Most of us have long been aware of the issues which Paul “brings to my attention” and we have been fighting Trump and his base tooth and nails for two years.

A more interesting recent Dutch article is Trump: Chaotic, Narcissistic and Effective: This article also provides a familiar litany of Trumpian horror stories: E.g. the evisceration of the environment, the Mafia-style corruption of everyone in and around the White House, the racism, the undermining of laws and courts, the rape of the economy by the kleptocracy, etc. But in addition, this article also dares to suggest that the Trumpites ARE in fact achieving many of their nefarious objectives. This is both alarming and refreshing. Read more...