//Litany of Shame

Litany of Shame

Image result for war scenes drawing

As is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore, human males have been in charge of pretty much everything over the past 400 millennia, and have pretty much made a mess of things. Let us count a few of the ways:

Lusting after political and economic power
Waging endless war
Wielding such power over the weak and the vulnerable
Inventing ever-more-lethal weapons for waging ever-more endless war
Favoring expediency over ethics
Marginalizing and mistreating women
Pushing innumerable species into extinction
Inventing homophobic and misogynist religions
Carrying on mindless ‘blood feuds’
Condoning ‘honor killings’
Allowing millions of children to perish of starvation and preventable disease
Normalizing rape
Degrading and despoiling the natural world
Begetting and abandoning legions of ‘fatherless’ children

The problem here, given the consistency of this sad legacy, not to mention its enormity, would appear to be inherent to the Y chromosome, which, although puny in physical size relative to its Queen Bee counterpart, the X chromosome, would appear to be predisposed toward wreaking havoc upon all “the fish of the sea…the fowl of the air, and…every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” This predisposition likely owes to a certain set of genes on the Y chromosome that, as in the case of the Marx Brothers, not to mention the Three Stooges, have a natural tendency to feed off each other. Chief amongst them, it would appear, is what we might call the ‘War Gene.’ Just how influential is the ‘War Gene’ on male behavior?
• Name one corporation that does not perceive itself as being ‘at war’ with its competitors; that does not want to ‘destroy’ its competitors
• Name one videogame that is not based on war
• Name one team-sport that is not based on war
• Name one summer movie that is not based on war
• Name one men’s action-novel that is not based on war
• Name one male-child play-fantasy that is not based on war
• Name one government eradication project that is not a war on something or other
• Name one street gang that does not perceive itself as being ‘at war’ with its rivals

2018-12-13T01:30:00+00:00December 13th, 2018|Uncategorized|2 Comments


  1. Barry Cook December 16, 2018 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    Comment on Barnaby’s comment.
    There are two kinds if people: dualists and everyone else. If I had to pick sides, I’m with everyone else.
    I have a quibble with the whole construction of “war on”. Dualism aside, it takes two to tango. The object of your war has to declare war on you in order for the rules of war to apply, especially the admission of defeat part. Poverty isn’t going to surrender. Therefore, it is not winnable as a war.
    But the “war” metaphor does at least capture the intent to resist our cultural ADD and not abandon the commitment at the end of this news cycle. It implies that the stakes of failure are high and that it is a problem which can’t be solved cheaply, easily or instantly.
    Maybe “Watergate” was an open and shut case (like a gate) – perhaps an ironic and prophetic choice of office space for the Democratic National Committee at that time. We used to call a cluster of crime and corruption a “scandal” or an “affair”. Now we’re supposed to call it “fake news.” Given that clusters of crime and corruption will always recur, and their unraveling will always be excruciatingly slow, we need a different nifty handle for it. Suggestions are always welcome.
    Finally, blaming men for the ills of the world could be a great job for women. Why must men deprive women of this important work? What are we – selfish and domineering?

  2. Barnaby December 13, 2018 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    I think you’re using a sledgehammer where a scalpel is needed. Entire fields of study are devoted to unraveling the complexities of some of the distinctions your drawing here. Human psychology, evolutionary biology, sociology and history simply can’t be reduced to men = dominance = aggression. it’s too pat, and there’s not much I can do with it.

    Let’s start with the chicken-and-egg problem. Is volleyball “based on war,” or do volleyball and war both arise from the same primate predisposition to organize into competitive social groups? An interesting social psychology experiment found that subjects who were divided into “people who prefer Kandinsky” and “people who prefer Klee” immediately showed preferential in-group behavior in games. I wouldn’t find it appropriate to say that war had anything to do with this – it’s just something primates do, and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with violence.

    FWIW there are a lot of video games not based on war – Minecraft comes to mind, which is one of the best-selling games this century. My personal all-time favorite game, Journey, is a beautiful and deeply-moving allegory for human spiritual exploration, in which you play a robed figure, who communicates only through beautiful chiming tones, and your goal is to get to the top of a luminous mountain.

    A summer movie not based on war: Forrest Gump.

    A male-child fantasy game not based on war: make-believe superheroes.

    To my knowledge, the war rhetoric of government programs began with the “war on poverty”, personally I don’t make anything of this, any more than any political controversy in the US since the 1970s is called “somethinggate.”

    Anyway, by my academic training I’m extremely suspicious of any conceptual dichotomy or set of binary relationships, and personally I find there’s more information and insight in looking toward where they break down rather than where they stand.

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