I could spend the afternoon doing an old-school fisking of this Frisky piece — but I have an extra PJTV segment to tape today on top of the usual Thursday Week in Blogs taping. But something has to be said about Jessica Wakeman’s boneheaded dumbassery — so I’ll just make it quick.
Her response to the Aurora massacre was to argue… well, I’ll let Jessica speak for herself. And please click over and read the whole thing, so you can be sure I haven’t taken her out of context. If you have the stomach for it, that is. Anyway, here we go:
In the days, weeks and months following a national tragedy, myths settle into our national consciousness. Myths are not falsehoods, per se. Rather, myths are the stories that we repeat to explain a complex and unnerving topic and make sense of the confusion — to label something “good” and “evil,” to finger the “bad guy” and the “hero.”
I’m sure we all shudder at the mere suggestion that shooting up 50 or so movie patrons might be labeled “evil,” or that the shooter could be considered a “bad guy.”
Oops — I promised not to do a full-frontal fisking. But Wakeman does have some interesting things to say about heroism, which is what pulled me into her column. Read:
A story coming out of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting — which I have heard again and again these past few days — is of the three boyfriends who saved the lives of their girlfriends by throwing themselves in the line of fire during the “Dark Knight Rises” shooting…
Three men died on Friday; their girlfriends did not die. It seems, from the stories we’re hearing from their loved ones, that they sacrificed their lives to save someone else…
I can respect and be touched by these men’s sacrifices. But I’m also wary of some byproducts of the heroism myth, the idea that a few good men will have courage under fire and put “women and children first…
Heroism has never had a gender: just tell that to Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, or any of the female soldiers who risk their lives daily in our military. But the “white knight in shining armor” narrative is gendered.
You’re goddamn right this particular form of heroism is gendered. It has to be gendered, and it should be gendered. Put simply: women are special, and men ought to treat them as such.
If you had to repopulate the planet, or even just your hunt-and-gather tribe, women can do something men can’t: Grow the babies. If you had to choose between starting that effort with 100 men and just one women, or with 100 women and just one man, you’d choose the latter every time. Neither situation is ideal, obviously — but one man can impregnate a whole lot of women. He might not do such a great job with the last poor gal in the lineup, but we are talking lifeboat rules here.
So it is necessary and right and gender-specific heroism for a man to lay down his life for his woman, because survival beyond the self may require it. A world without such men is, eventually, a world without any men — or women.
We’ve reached such a sorry state in our culture, such a state of politically-correct blindness, that there are people like Wakeman who must deny the obvious while nitpicking our heroes.
I hope for her sake that she’s found, or will someday find, a better man than she seems to deserve.