Scott Adams. Remember him? Sure you do! When last we checked in with Adams, he was busily explaining how women are children, and men should just accept that. This did not garner him the universal acclaim that his pontifications usually do, which caused him to sniff haughtily that those who disagreed with him were just dumber than his usual sycophantic readers. This sterling argumentation did not, shockingly, result in a mass conversion to his point of view.
Good times, good times. Anyhow, you’d think after all that, Adams would leave gender alone for a while. But as one might expect from someone so narcissistic that he created a sockpuppet to sing his own praises, Adams is undaunted. And yesterday, he took to the interweb to share his opinion on pegs and holes.
If you read that last sentence and instantly retched, you aren’t alone.
Adams begins his argument with the fallacious appeal to nature:
If you have a round peg that doesn’t fit in a square hole, do you blame the peg or the hole? You probably blame neither. We don’t assign blame to inanimate objects. But you might have some questions about the person who provided you with these mismatched items and set you up to fail.
If a lion and a zebra show up at the same watering hole, and the lion kills the zebra, whose fault is that? Maybe you say the lion is at fault for doing the killing. Maybe you say the zebra should have chosen a safer watering hole. But in the end, you probably conclude that both animals acted according to their natures, so no one is to blame. However, if this is your local zoo, you might have some questions about who put the lions with the zebras in the same habitat.
Now consider human males.
See? Square pegs can’t help it if they don’t fit in round holes, lions can’t help killing zebras, and men — well, we can’t help putting our pegs in zebras. Or something.
No doubt you have noticed an alarming trend in the news. Powerful men have been behaving badly, e.g. tweeting, raping, cheating, and being offensive to just about everyone in the entire world. The current view of such things is that the men are to blame for their own bad behavior. That seems right. Obviously we shouldn’t blame the victims. I think we all agree on that point. Blame and shame are society’s tools for keeping things under control.
Oh. Well, I got myself ramped up over nothing. That’s pretty reasonabl–
The part that interests me is that society is organized in such a way that the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable. In other words, men are born as round pegs in a society full of square holes. Whose fault is that? Do you blame the baby who didn’t ask to be born male? Or do you blame the society that brought him into the world, all round-pegged and turgid, and said, “Here’s your square hole”?
–oh, for fuck’s sake.
There’s no unpacking this. Adams is saying, flatly, that all men desire to rape, to cheat, to be generally horrid to others — and then he’s saying, “Well, look at society! So anti-male! Let’s blame it!”
Because as we all know, our society is run by women. Men have absolutely nothing to do with it. I mean, look at all the women who were in the Continental Congress! Okay, look at all the women married to the men who were in the Continental Congress! Women have been adjacent to power forever. Clearly, it’s their fault that society doesn’t support men in our desire to assault them.
The way society is organized at the moment, we have no choice but to blame men for bad behavior. If we allowed men to act like unrestrained horny animals, all hell would break loose. All I’m saying is that society has evolved to keep males in a state of continuous unfulfilled urges, more commonly known as unhappiness. No one planned it that way. Things just drifted in that direction.
I don’t even know where to start with this. I mean, I know I’m a man, and therefore my brain is completely mush due to my constantly being berated by society’s insistence that I not rape, but I’ve never found myself unhappy because I was unable to sexually assault a woman, or because I couldn’t tweet an image of my gentials to a coworker.
And what would Adams’ remedy be? Because — and I’m just going out on a limb here — allowing men free rein to attack and assault women would probably make women rather unhappy. Rather more unhappy, indeed, than men, who are (last I checked) free to have consensual sex with any women or men who are willing to engage in it.
Ah, but there’s the rub. Because men are damned even if they restrict themselves to “consent.” Consider this tragic figure:
Consider Hugh Hefner. He had every benefit of being a single man, and yet he decided he needed to try marriage. Marriage didn’t work out, so he tried the single life again. That didn’t work out, so he planned to get married again, although reportedly the wedding just got called off. For Hef, being single didn’t work, and getting married didn’t work, at least not in the long run. Society didn’t offer him a round hole for his round peg. All it offered were unlimited square holes.
Yes, Hugh Hefner. The octogenarian who was previously dating approximately three dozen identical blonde twenty-year-olds, and who was almost going to marry another twenty-year-old until she realized that this was wildly at odds with the half-plus-seven rule. All Hefner has to console himself now is his vast fortune, fame, publishing empire, and another dozen willing twenty-year-olds. So hard to be him!
To be fair, if a man meets and marries the right woman, and she fulfills his needs, he might have no desire to tweet his meat to strangers. Everyone is different. But in general, society is organized as a virtual prison for men’s natural desires. I don’t have a solution in mind. It’s a zero sum game. If men get everything they want, women lose, and vice versa. And there’s no real middle ground because that would look like tweeting a picture of your junk with your underpants still on. Some things just don’t have a compromise solution.
Look, I’m not sure whether humans really evolved to be monogamous. But note — I’m not sure humans really evolved to be monogamous. Pace Adams, there are plenty of women out there who sometimes wish they could tweet a picture of their junk to a potential paramour. Indeed, 54 percent of women admit to having been unfaithful to their partner in a relationship. This is not significantly different than the 57 percent of men who will admit the same.
Indeed, the “men want sex so much more than women” conventional wisdom is, like most conventional wisdom, a gross simplification. Given the chance, most men and most women will cheat at least once in their life. Which is why the “if women got what they want” thing is such a bald lie. What most (not all) women want is what most (not all) men want — for their partners not to cheat, and for their indiscretions to go unnoticed. Oh, and not to be raped. That’s an important one.
Indeed, it seems like there’s a pretty clear line that everyone can accept, one that says that one should be honest with one’s partner, that fidelity is a sacrifice (but then, so is remaining single; life is full of sacrifices, as any grown-up knows) and that each couple must define their own boundaries, and that there are certain behaviors — rape chief among them — that are completely out of bounds in a civilized society. This isn’t difficult, assuming, as I do, that men are adult humans who are capable of transcending their base drives, of choosing, as I have, not to rape anyone.
Or we could go Adams’ route.
Long term, I think science will come up with a drug that keeps men chemically castrated for as long as they are on it. It sounds bad, but I suspect that if a man loses his urge for sex, he also doesn’t miss it. Men and women would also need a second drug that increases oxytocin levels in couples who want to bond. Copulation will become extinct. Men who want to reproduce will stop taking the castration drug for a week, fill a few jars with sperm for artificial insemination, and go back on the castration pill.
Video description: From “Billy Madison: “What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
Seriously, this may be the dumbest thing I have ever read from a soi disant serious thinker. Or even from a fool.
Scott? Maybe it’s not the case with the women you’ve partnered with, but most women actually like sex. They desire it. They seek out men or women to engage in it with. It is not merely something they put up with in order to get a guy to live with them and paint stuff. It’s actually a benefit to the relationship. It’s part of why they seek it out.
Do women and men want exactly the same amount of sex? As noted above, it’s complicated. But even assuming arguendo that men are always up for it more than women, that doesn’t mean women are never up for it, nor that they’d be happy with a society that literally treated men as sperm donors only.
Adams paints his future dystopia as a utopia, of sorts:
That might sound to you like a horrible world. But the oxytocin would make us a society of huggers, and no one would be treated as a sex object. You’d have no rape, fewer divorces, stronger friendships, and a lot of other advantages. I think that’s where we’re headed in a few generations
Would we, now? You know, I doubt it. Oh, maybe we’d have less rape — although I tend to doubt it, simply because rape itself is not merely a sex act. But I don’t think it would just make us a world of huggers. Oxytocin is an important neuromodulator in humans (humans, Scott — men and women alike have it floating around in our skulls and bodies), but it’s role, like many hormones, is not simply understood. Indeed, it probably plays an important role in — wait for it — sex drive, and so dosing women with massive amounts of oxytocin could well make women quite a bit more interested in pair-bonding than they are now (and that’s quite a bit). Somehow, I don’t think that’s a great thing to do at the same time we chemically castrate all men. Not to mention that messing with the hormones of literally every human on Earth seems like a really bad idea, until you think about it, and then it seems like the most horrible idea since they greenlit “According to Jim.”
There’s a simpler solution to the problem Adams identifies. And that is for men to act like the adults we are. To choose not to rape — which remains the easiest choice I’ve ever made. To send lewd pictures only to those who want them. To treat women as our equals — and for them to treat us as equals. These are not difficult things, assuming that men are not hateful simpletons. But as per usual, nobody hates men more than misogynists. And Adams certainly qualifies on that front.