A dissent, with all due respect

First, let me state that I like John Scalzi and his work. I think some of those who generally share my opinion about the foolishness of women electing to engage in hostile physical interaction have gone overboard in slamming Krissy, and that many of those who disagree with me are attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole by asserting that this has anything to do with mysogyny.

Second, I don’t condone groping or any other form of unprovoked social crudity. I don’t even permit male bullying in my presence; I once bounced a very irritating man named Buzzy’s head off a brick wall when he slapped a friend of mine that he was dating in front of me. Clearly, the guy provoked the encounter and deserved the humiliation that Krissy meted out to him.

However, remember that celebrating physical violence in response to unwanted physical overtures goes both ways. If Krissy has the right to “kick the ass” of a man who grabs her, so do I. It has happened on occassion, I mean, I have a gay fan club, for Travolta’s sake! And it means I also have the right to punch out every woman who grabs my arms, pats my pecs or whatever… is everyone okay with that, really?

However, John is simply incorrect about this:

My wife is tremendously strong and more than capable of handling herself physically. My ex-girlfriend from college has a second-degree black belt in karate. I have another woman friend who was Special Forces. Any three of these women I would wager would be as capable as most men in a physical situation. Any three of them, I can confidently state, can probably kick my ass without much problem, and by height, weight and strength I am pretty much exactly the average American male.

You might say that the average woman is no match in a physical altercation with the average male, and you may be right. But in all cases? Bullshit. There are lots of women who are strong, there are lots of women who know how to defend themselves, and there are lots of women who have the will to dominate a physical situation. Lots of women are some combination of all three.

All of this is either irrelevant or largely incorrect, excluding a few rare exceptions. The comments about the black belt and special forces is simply an unfortunate lack of direct observation and experience. Black belt women only fight high-ranking men in the dojo, not because they can beat the inexperienced fighters too easily, but because they don’t want to get hurt by guys who can’t control their power. Fighting a female black belt falls somewhere in between fighting a complete beginner and a gold belt… their techniques are often quite good and their kicks are beautiful, but when you fight them it feels like they’re moving in molasses.

Seriously, I once asked a very pretty kickboxer with a black belt if she was injured, as she was taking all day to come in when she tried to attack. She was so slow that I started playing around and seeing if I could beat her jab with rear hand counters without anticipating. Not only could I do it, but it wasn’t even close.

I’d encourage John to visit a full-contact dojo or a boxing club sometime and talk to the three or four women who train seriously there. He’ll likely be surprised by their opinion on the matter, as well as their open contempt for the paper Amazons from the belt factories. At our dojo, Penthouse didn’t even fight a woman for her first three years and when she did, she left a trail of tears, black eyes, bloody noses and very short fights behind her. She was simply in shock at how easy it was, and was practically in tears herself at how much devastation she’d wrought.

The problem here with all this patronizing “oh, your wife is lucky” talk from you and others is that it generally underestimates my wife’s intelligence, which I find annoying. Krissy is very smart, and determined what the best course of action was in this particular event. It’s possible my wife was lucky; it’s rather more likely that she was intelligent and acted with thought and intent and from the knowledge that she was acting appropriately.

It may surprise some to know that I totally agree with this. John is a smart guy and I presume he’s capable of ascertaining if Krissy is too. I’m not objecting to Krissy’s successful handling of a particular situation, I’m merely attempting to dissuade those who would enthusiastically attempt to draw a general conclusion from it.

A tale of two women

Like John Scalzi’s wife, Spacebunny was recently accosted in a bar by a drunken fool with inappropriately amorous attentions. She, too, was grabbed. Unlike Mrs. Scalzi, however, she did not feel the need to shove him up against a wall, jam her arm into his throat and give a little feminist speech: “I have had enough of you being rude and disrespectful toward women. The next time I see you, you will be polite and show respect.”

Instead, Spacebunny simply turned around and let loose with her trademark Storm Blue Icicle Stare, which was enough to inspire the same result achieved by Mrs. Scalzi’s physical attack. Unlike Mrs. Instapundit, I have no problem with the small amount of violence utilized by Mrs. Scalzi, nor do I harbor any desire to see Spacebunny match her ocular superpowers against the more pedestrian abilities of Mr. Scalzi’s wife, although I would put my money on the cold Nordic gaze of my pretty Valkyrie.

However, I do agree with Dr. Helen that the “you go, girl” cheerleading of various feminist commenters is more than a little repulsive, particularly in its vapid ignorance of the risks inherent in deciding to up the physical ante without benefit of 18-inch guns, martial training or weaponry. I don’t say this in defense of uncouth cretins who consider groping to be a form of courtship – although I will point out that this justification of violent response to unwanted contact justifies much, if not most, gay-bashing – only to say that it is unwise to increase the amount of physical force in an exchange if you are not fully prepared for it to escalate dramatically.

As my sensei always taught, do not go until you are ready to go 100 percent. Shoving someone against a wall is not sufficient as the opponent is not incapacitated and such an armbar leaves your stomach, groin and knees fully exposed. It’s merely intimidation, which only the inexperienced could possibly confuse for genuine incapacitation.

Now, perhaps Mrs. Scalzi was fortunate or perhaps she is an astute judge of male character and correctly identified a physical coward who would permit her to humiliate him. I don’t know, I was not there and I take no exception to her actions. (The silly little speech is another matter, but whatever.) I would not, however, recommend a similarly physical reaction to unwanted touching by the average woman unless the guy is in a wheelchair or something. Even then it can be risky; one of my friends was once knocked out in a nightclub brawl when a crippled gangbanger threw a brick and hit him in the back of the head.

As for the Tuff Grrrl poster, the less said the better. Someday, women will learn that you have to earn respect, you don’t simply get it for “being me”. If a feminist doesn’t respect me, (and I assume many don’t), does that give me the right to beat her? Still, while Dr. Helen is appalled, I’m mostly amused to see middle class white women adopting the “don’t diss me” attitude of the black underclass. I mean, it’s worked so well for them, after all….

By the way, Scalzi’s SF is worth reading, particularly if you enjoy the early Heinlein. Despite our numerous differences of opinion, I found I rather liked the guy when we were exchanging emails a while back.

I’ll make an exception

To my usual rule about quizzes and tags since a few people have emailed me similar questions of late:
1. One book that changed your life?

“Tragedy and Hope” by Carroll Quigley. It confirmed my suspicion that the lunatics were closer to the truth than the mainstream. Book Two of “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius would be a close second.

2. One book that you have read more than once?

“The Dark is Rising” by Susan Cooper.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

“Remembrance of Things Past” by Marcel Proust. That way I might actually finish it.

4. One book that made you cry?

“Dragondrums” by Anne McCaffrey. I wanted a fire lizard very badly by the end of the book and looking outside the window at the blue, dragon-free sky and knowing that I’d never have one was simply more than I could bear. More recently, “Thank You, Jeeves” by P.G. Wodehouse but that was because I was laughing so hard.

5. One book that made you laugh?

“Thank You, Jeeves”, naturally. And the Perfect Aryan Male and Big Chilly once kicked me out of the room where they were watching a movie while I was reading and being too thoroughly amused by the Original Cyberpunk’s “Headcrash”.

6. One book you wish had been written?

The third volume of William Manchester’s biography of Winston Churchill. It would also have been nice to write “Rebel Moon Rising”, but that is most unlikely. The ending worked well for the game but was a disaster for the novel. Stupid, stupid! (Picture Chris Farley….)

7. One book you wish had never been written?

“The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx. Anything by Mercedes Lackey, Catherine Asaro or Laurell K. Hamilton. Ye cats, they’re bad!

8. One book you are reading currently?

Paul Johnson’s “Creators”. It’s as good as “Intellectuals” if rather less snarksome. It’s arguably better than Daniel Boorstein’s book on the same subject as well. I’m also reading Giordano Bruno Guerri’s “Fascisti”.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

I haven’t been able to bring myself to start Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle yet. I have all three volumes in hardcover and on my Treo as well, but the sweetness of the anticipation is simply too enjoyable to give up yet. I’ve also never gotten around to reading Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” but I intend to later this autumn. I find Ye Olde English to be more than a little distracting but that’s no excuse.

Houston, we have ignition!

There are few things so purely enjoyable as seeing the light come on.

VPFL: Whose house? Run’s house!

Week One results:

71 – Mounds View Meerkats
62 – East Mesa White Trash

58 – Greenfield Grizzlies
45 – Mile High Club

64 – Newport Sea Dogs
43 – West Texas Vikings

41 – Burns Montgomerys
37 – Pale Horse Cowboys

53 – Santa Barbarians
37 – COS McRays

Yes, the White Buffalo and I kicked things off in inimitable style, as my Meerkats swarmed their way to the high score of the week while WB’s Grizzlies had no trouble devouring the Shrubbery.

However, and I quote: “WTF? 3 teams starting non players! Dude, why are we wasting our time? You need to publicly bitch slap the Cowboys, White Trash, and Vikings – or give their teams to someone else.

In fairness to the White Trash, Portis did play. But as for the Vikings and Cowboys, I recommend paying closer attention to the injury wires. There was a chance Housh might play, but Davis is on the IR and is out for the year. If you want to run with the big dogs, then get with the program!