January 6, 2018

The feminist critique of Trump is easy... too easy.

"President Trump makes the job of a feminist security analyst almost too easy. No subtle teasing out of subtexts required with this guy."

Writes Carol Cohn, the director of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights at the University of Massachusetts Boston, in an op-ed in the NYT.

Too easy? If this were a movie, and someone was making it "too easy," you'd know that something really complicated was going on. I'm thinking of the meme (satirized in "Airplane") "It's quiet... too quiet."

Cohn is looking at a Trump tweet that looks too simple — it seems to shout its own Freudian/feminist analysis: "I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

He's conflating nuclear bombs and male sexual ego right there in the open, so if you tell him he's doing what he's clearly doing, you're just repeating what he said. His statement and the critique of the statement are both already out there, in as few words as possible. What's left to say? There's nothing for you to feast upon. It's all pre-digested by Trump. Disarming!

He made it too easy. What can you do? Un-pre-digest it?

Citing her work "among civilian nuclear strategists, war planners, weapons scientists and arms controllers," Cohn says:
Overt impugning of masculinity is still only the most surface level at which ideas about gender play out in strategic thinking. They work in deeper, more subtle ways too. The culturally pervasive associations of masculinity with dispassion, distance, abstraction, toughness and risk-taking, and of femininity with emotion, empathy, bodily vulnerability, fear and caution, are embedded within the professional discourse.

And there they function to make some kinds of ideas seem self-evidently “realist,” hard-nosed and rational, and others patently inadmissible, self-evidently inappropriate. (One white male physicist told me that he and colleagues were once modeling a limited nuclear attack when he suddenly voiced dismay that they were talking so casually about “only 30 million” immediate deaths. “It was awful — I felt like a woman,” he said.)
(Why are we told he was white? He didn't say "It was awful — I felt like a black person.")
Mainstream national security analysts have been reluctant to think seriously — or at all — about the ways that ideas about gender shape national security. So if Mr. Trump’s disparagement of Mr. Kim’s manhood somehow does not wind up bringing us yet closer to war with North Korea, then perhaps he has in one sense done us a favor. He has made it glaringly evident that while the literal button or penis size of Mr. Trump or Mr. Kim matters not at all, their need for the world to believe that they are manly men does.
I would not exclude the possibility that Trump has much more dispassion, distance, abstraction, and toughness than Cohn acknowledges. I think he's trying to have an effect on Kim's mind and thinks Kim is vulnerable to this kind of belittling. It's also quite possible that both men know it's a game played for the horror and delight of the general public. These are showmen. They know that we need to see a really big penis show.

And I have one more point I want to make. Hang on. I've got to do a Google search. Oh!



Ha ha. Ridiculous. I guess no one has made that point, because I did not make it in that post, which is from last September, before the "button" tweet. It's a good post, about the "Rocket Man" nickname and phallic symbols. But I don't use the word "button" — it's in the sidebar, referring to PayPal contributions — or "clitoris" — that word is in a comment ("The clitoris simply doesn't have the clear, simple lines of a penis, and who even knows what g-spot looks like...").

46 comments:

james james said...

"And there they function to make some kinds of ideas seem self-evidently “realist,” hard-nosed and rational, and others patently inadmissible, self-evidently inappropriate."

The more elite that you are the less self-aware that you are.

She doesn't even notice.

- james james

rhhardin said...

She's saying Trump ought to be worried about womanish things instead of manly things, just as a feminist position.

The no difference difference.

Jeff Teal said...

The most common epithet for civilian war planners weapons scientists and arms controllers is -amateur.

Jeff Teal said...

Or maybe -wannabee.Sort of puts a different spin on penis envy doesn't it.

Night Owl said...

"These are showmen. They know that we need to see a really big penis show."

Indeed.

Scott Adams views Trump's tweets through the persuasion filter. I view them through the WWE filter. When you do that it all makes sense.

Tommy Duncan said...

"The culturally pervasive associations of masculinity with dispassion, distance, abstraction, toughness and risk-taking, and of femininity with emotion, empathy, bodily vulnerability, fear and caution, are embedded within the professional discourse."

I thought diversity was a good thing. My emotionally primitive STEM mind is confused. Do they really want the differences to go away?

rhhardin said...

It's not a man war. It's Trump throwing sand in Kim's posturing by making it a transparent man war. It makes Kim ridiculous to the public.

The same thing Trump does to every opposing force, in particular the media's PC postures.

It's persuasion by ridicule, if you have to call it persuasion.

Fernandistein said...

One stereotypically fat plain useless scolding white female feminist wasted hundred of words to tell us ...

"That's not funny."

Oso Negro said...

There are times when I think it would be really jolly to see academic feminists driven into the street and beaten with sticks. Just for perspective.

tim maguire said...

One thing Trump excels at is exposing experts as simple-minded ninnies. Of course Trump "has much more dispassion, distance, abstraction, and toughness than Cohn acknowledges." I believe you pointed out yourself a while back that Trump's tweets are designed to elicit responses. In that sense, he thinks like a liberal--the emotional weight is more important than the factual accuracy. His tweet is right if he gets the response he wants.

His idiot critics never seem to figure that out. Like with W. a decade and a half ago, no matter how many times he outmaneuvers them, his critics keep insisting that he's the dumb one.

dreams said...

I think Trump is going to solve the N Korea problem, finally.

james james said...

The City Employee With The Weird Grin seems himself as an elite. Sure, he just has a mid-level job with the City, but he is in the Clubhouse. He has seen Important People at the elevators, he has listened to Important People talk Important Things while waiting in line for coffee beverages. They might have nodded at him once or twice.

I have used in reference to him the phrase Cut-and-Paste Nation, and he is Cut-and-Paste smart. He has read about that thing you are talking about, he will send you a link. He might not know much about that other thing you are talking about, but he has memes about it on his phone, so he gets the gist.

I would think that he would be frequenting a bar with more status, one Downtown instead of on the Ave, one more in line with his self-regard. Of course, maybe he has tried that already, and found that the Important People that talk Important Things have no need to talk to him. This is just a guess.

So he positions himself as an elite at a bar that really has no use for elites. Sometimes I actually feel a little empathy for him -- it is tough when your life doesn't match up with what you thought you would have -- but he will inevitably soon say something in that pedantic condescending tone, and play up the Weird Grin. And then the empathy stops.

I think a lot of regulars at the bar feel it when your life doesn't match up with what you thought you would have. But they have a sense of humor about it. Or made peace with it. Most of them, anyway.

At the bar once in a while is a former athlete who made it to the college team, but stalled out without making the Pros. It is obvious that this still haunts him. When you consider yourself an elite you can always blame other people for not understanding your genius. As an athlete, you pretty much have to accept that you were just not good enough.

File under Lessons The Elite Will Never Learn.

- james james

bobby said...

We saw how effectively Obama's very very woke communication affected Kim.

Not at all. If anything, it empowered him.

But now, following Trump's rude and risque talk, Kim has agreed to enter into discussions with SK.

You shouldn't discuss tactics without discussing their results.

Hagar said...

It also makes Kim Jong'un look ridiculous to insiders around the world - including at home in North Korea.

And the insiders may be considering that the personality cult regime has a problem in that The Fat Kid is likely to die of natural causes before his children come of age.

Fernandistein said...

Da Wikli:
"Cohn argues that...blah blah..."orgasmic whumps" are common place in nuclear weaponry and strategy conversations.


I think Cohn is lying (I know, it's shocking, shocking I tells ya, that a feminista would lie!)

Google ["orgasmic whumps" -cohn] = two results, both talking about how the term is naughty.

Bruce Hayden said...

Sure,there is a certain level of male posturing to n international relations. That has always been the way - you put your biggest, naddest, makes on the border looking out, to intimidate the enemy into not invading, or to protect us if they do invade. That is man's ultimate purpose in life - to protect women and children from other men. We had our first female, or maybe feminist, President, with Barack Obama, and the world is demonstrably less safe than when he took office as a result. Countries such as Iran and North Korea, unconvinced by such virtue signaling, now are on the verge of being able to deliver nuclear weapons. Bare chested Putin took Obama's measure, invaded Ukrane, and annexed the Crimea. And China has been able to greatly expand the area over which it claims control through robust projections of power. None of them were dissuaded, in the least, with the sharp crease of Obama's pants.

I am reminded again about that scene in Team America World Police:

"See, there are three kinds of people: dicks, pussies and assholes. Pussies think everyone can get along and dicks just want to fuck all the time without thinking it through. But then you got your assholes. And all the assholes want is to shit all over everything. So pussies may get mad at dicks once in a while because, pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes! And if they didn't fuck the assholes, you know what you'd get? You'd get your dick and your pussy all covered in shit!"

And:

"We're dicks! We're reckless, arrogant, stupid dicks. And the Film Actors Guild are pussies. And Kim Jong-ll is an asshole. Pussies don't like dicks, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes — assholes who just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think they can deal with assholes their way. But the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick, with some balls. The problem with dicks is that they fuck too much or fuck when it isn't appropriate — and it takes a pussy to show them that. But sometimes, pussies can be so full of shit that they become assholes themselves... because pussies are only an inch and half away from ass holes. I don't know much about this crazy, crazy world, but I do know that if you don't let us fuck this asshole, we're going to have our dicks and pussies all covered in shit!"

Unknown said...

This woman, and I suspect many of her co-religionists, simply do not understand Trump and why he says such things.

Kim, in an effort to assert a strong negotiating or bargaining position, made a juvenile boast about his nuclear capabilities, including that he has a launch button on his desk. Likely that the existence of this button is literally false, there ain't no physical button. To counter Kim's assertion of strength Trump tweets his comments which establish the ridiculousness of Kim's button comment and state that Kim is not as strong as he pretends to be. It takes a good amount of insanity to turn Trump's tweet into some sort of anti-women statement. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

The best part of this for me is that Kim's original statement, being a boast, establishes that he sees himself in a weak position.

-sw

Paco Wové said...

"Why are we told he was white?"

It's probably just a macro; hit two keys and out spits "white male".

"white" is just a negative intensifier in amsoc. "white male" is the doubleplusungoodiest intensifier of them all.

Quayle said...

“We saw how effectively Obama's very very woke communication affected Kim.”

Which was weird, because absolutely everybody at the cocktail parties on the upper-west side and in Georgetown thought what OBAMA said was utterly brilliant and geopolitically spot on. And Obama agreed with them.

Tim at large said...

It’s obviously a patriarchy in weapons of mass destruction. Why else would poison, a favored weapon of women, be outlawed, but phallic rockets are A-OK!

BTW, “brilliant” is just short-hand for “agrees with me.” Sometimes it means that the object of the praise has found a new rationalization for what the utterer utterer of the phrase already believed, that’s another usage.

Tommy Duncan said...

Results matter. Bruce Hayden's comment bears repeating:

"We had our first female, or maybe feminist, President, with Barack Obama, and the world is demonstrably less safe than when he took office as a result."

Tim at large said...

white” is just a negative intensifier in amsoc. "white male"

+1

Another word that could be used in place of “white” would be “fucking” as in “a fucking male physicist!”

Tim at large said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim at large said...

The City Employee With The Weird Grin seems himself as an elite. Sure, he just has a mid-level job with the City, but he is in the Clubhouse. He has seen Important People at the elevators, he has listened to Important People talk Important Things while waiting in line for coffee beverages. They might have nodded at him once or twice. - james james

Damn we are blessed in some of the commenters here. I just feel bad that this place is distracting him from writing a full on novel that I can listen to from Audible in my car.

Phil 3:14 said...

Well to be fair we know that polluting our natural body fluids (including semen) can lead to nuclear war.

(And it was a man who told us that.)

Lucien said...

Remember how macho the position of National Security Advisor is?

Henry Kissinger, Al Haig.

Then Bush 43 picked a WOMAN(?!?) for the job. A Black Woman. Witha Ph.D. from Stanford. Who plays classical piano. And probably speaks French.

But the Democrats knew he was just a stupid racist misogynist.

Tim at large said...

One thing Trump excels at is exposing experts as simple-minded ninnies

All the while being functionally illiterate!

And you know what I would like to see? An aircraft carrier, or a stealth bomber, or any other warfare-changing weapons system designed by people who are not very good at abstraction. Because it you can’t win the wars, you don’t get to rule. Unless maybe women have a secret plan to subjugate all of the men in the world and take power that way, maybe by poisoning us all. Then they take male approaches to conflict off the the table because they never have to go up against them.

Merkel used “womanly” logic in Germany, and has fucked up her country, and the whole EU project BTW, royally.

John Lynch said...

What makes people so angry is that Trump is such an asshole and keeps winning. He never gets his comeupance. There is this huge push to prove that bullying behavior will lead to your downfall, but Trump proves, over and over, that it does not.

Michael K said...

Feminist authorities and the left, but I repeat myself, are the ones "rough men" guard so they can sleep at night.

Of course, they are never willing to admit that.

They do spin interesting psychological theories to tell themselves that is not true,.

Will Cate said...

Spot-on... I've been using the tag "burning out his fuse" all week since this whole "big button" kerfuffle happened.

Curious George said...

"The clitoris simply doesn't have the clear, simple lines of a penis...."

Well, except those that look like a Golden Globe.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Feminist Man = man, I wish I had boobs and a vagina.

chuck said...

> the director of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Wonderful title, puts me in mind of men with their chests covered in gaudy medals. And sure enough, the heroic Ms. Cohn plays the traditional academic game of completely missing the point, winning by a landslide.

Bob Boyd said...

"the job of a feminist security analyst"


Seeing Red said...

Mainstream national security analysts have been reluctant to think seriously — or at all — about the ways that ideas about gender shape national security.


Good thing.

Saint Croix said...

"I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

It's a joke tweet. It's ridiculous to brag about buttons. You sound like a second grader when you brag about how big your buttons are.

There's a serious undercurrent to the tweet, of course. But the language he chooses is farcical and funny. He is both playing the game and mocking the game, and mocking the players in the game.

Earnest Prole said...

A button is clearly symbolic of a clitoris and not a phallus: That’s why we refer to news that stirs women up as “hot-button issues.”

Roy Lofquist said...

Y'all do way too much thinking. War is simple: Bang! You're dead. 'Nuff said.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

The culturally pervasive associations of masculinity with dispassion, distance, abstraction, toughness and risk-taking,...[is leading to] some kinds of ideas seem[ing] self-evidently “realist,” hard-nosed and rational,”

In other words, she claims that the sum total of how our culture behaves is creating an alternate reality in which you can’t trust your own perception of fact nor your own conclusions.

Well then, now that we’ve diagnosed the root problem, what next? We can’t trust anything that seems self evident. I guess we need to turn to her to guide us forward.

Or is it her. Maybe the academies and leftist elit intellectual circles perpetuate their own culturally pervasive associations of masculinity with toxicity, oppression, and bullying, ego, and needless risk-taking,...[which is leading to] some kinds of other ideas seem[ing] self-evidently “realist,” hard-nosed and rational,

n.n said...

I thought diversity was a good thing.

When it recognizes people by the "content of their character" (i.e. individual dignity, principles), not the "color of their skin". The latter is racist, sexist, bigoted.

Unknown said...

Sometimes an atomic bomb is just an atomic bomb.

Will Cate said...

Narayanan Subramanian said... "Feminist Man = man, I wish I had boobs and a vagina."

I'm guessing massive doses of estrogen would take care of the boobs part.

Darrell said...

Citing her work "among civilian nuclear strategists, war planners, weapons scientists and arms controllers," Cohn says

Anyone who ever hired Carol Cohn for serious work in government or the military should be immediately fired or brought up on charges. This NYT article is all the evidence you need.

Gahrie said...

I'm guessing massive doses of estrogen would take care of the boobs part.

Mountain Dew, pizza and chili fries worked for me.

Martin said...

Button... as in... belly button? nipple? a mechanical device?

Carol Cohn and people like her are really just toooo stupid.