Alain de Botton Bashes Men, Cites Capital-P Patriarchs Like Augustine and Kellogg, Not Dworkin or Mackinnon
In a post in the Wall Street Journal titled "Why Most Men Aren’t Man Enough to Handle Web Porn", Alain de Botton, a philosopher and writer, resorts to the deux ex machana of sociobiology/evolutionary-psychology to... explain that men's genes render us helpless, weak, and damaged if given more than an occasional glimpse of a female knee or elbow. (Emphasis mine.)
Consider pornography. Part of the problem is that it’s extremely tempting to some people, as alcohol and crack cocaine are. Commentators who don’t investigate the issue much, who might once have had a peek inside Playboy or caught a preview of a naughty film on the television channel of a hotel rest too easy that there’s no problem. But there is. A largely unwitting alliance made up of Cisco, Dell Oracle Microsoft and thousands of pornographic providers have now found a way of exploiting a design flaw in the male gender. A brain originally designed to cope with nothing more tempting than an occasional glimpse of a tribesperson across the savannah is lost with what’s now on offer on the net at the click of a button: when confronted with offers to participate continuously in scenarios outstripping any that could be dreamt up by the diseased mind of the Marquis de Sade. There is nothing robust enough in our psychological make-up to compensate for developments in our technological capacities.
Source: WSJ Speakeasy
By the way was I being hyperbolic when I said "more than an occasional glimpse of a female knee or... elbow? Here's de Botton again:
Could a rational adult really change their life on account of the sighting of a pair of beguiling female knees or elbows? Would one not have to be mental weakling in order to be severely affected by a group of half-naked teenagers sauntering provocatively down the beachfront? ... It is not an insult to human beauty to suggest that the matter may not be quite so simple. Indeed, it is a tribute to the power of beauty to think otherwise.
Yep. Get out the chadors, habits, wimples, and burkas, ladies! According to Mr. de Botton us poor men can't be your moral and spiritual betters beings unless you're buttoned up to your eyebrows. Because Catholic teaching! Because Muslim traditions! Because St. Augustine! Because... well.. Philosophy!
A portion of our libido has to be forced underground, repression was not just for the Catholics, the Muslims and the Victorians, it has to be with us for eternity. Because we have to go to work, commit ourselves to relationships, care for our children and explore our own minds, we cannot allow our sexual urges to express themselves without limit, online or otherwise; it would destroy us. Sex is a force from which we should not realistically ever expect or want to be entirely be “liberated.”
Is it really necessary to point out that neither Mr. de Botton, nor the ancient authorities he cites, nor the archaic traditions he endorses, nor even the dubious genetic inferiority he dreams up arise from feminism? Is it really necessary to note that each and every citation is of a pillar, icon, or institution of fundamental (even fundamentalist!) patriarchy?
The man's not drawing inspiration from Andrea Dworkin here, he's drawing it from John Harvey Kellogg!
Is it necessary to point out that his proposed solution is not suggesting that men deal with their problem by bucking up, or at least zipping up? That his solution for menis instead for women to cover up!
You can grouse all day long about feminism, gang, but nobody hates men like the Patriarchy hates men.