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Number 1,044, October 27, 2019

Dear Lord, have they lost their minds?

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Teaching Offense
by Sarah A. Hoyt

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Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

Sometimes I think 99% of the trouble with current society is the state of education, and the way we arrange to have people teach kids who have never experienced any real trouble or problem what to be offended at.

In historical terms, we live incredibly safe lives in the US. In historical terms, women live incredibly safe, incredibly equal lives.

And yet women here talk about the patriarchy, and are never done with how much they are being oppressed and kept down.

Dates are rape, bad sex is rape, being looked at by a guy you don’t like is rape, being told you’re less than perfect is the equivalent of rape, and for that matter being forced to smile is “emotional labor” and unfair.

Where does all this come from?

Well… it’s taught. And it’s taught in the most absurd and ridiculous way.

This became clear to me the other day. This young woman wrote an hillarious review of Blazing Saddles on Medium. It’s since been removed, but the internet remembers.

And what caught me was this: “One of the main women in this movie, Lil Van Schtupp (Madeline Kahn), is portrayed as stupid and talks with a lisp. In one scene she uses the classic “let me go slip into something more comfortable” quote that we’ve talked about in class. Objectifying and sexualizing women are two key themes throughout this movie.

Note the “We’ve talked about in class.”

By the time I I came around the phrase “let me slip into something more comfortable” was played for laughs. If you heard it in a movie—and btw it could come from a man or woman—the character would come back wearing a spacesuit, or alternately naked.

But I watched classical movies. “Let me slip into something more comfortable” was not sexist. It was a way of signaling that the characters were having sex, most of the time, in a prudish era where they didn’t feel the need to let it all hang out on screen.

Why the “slip into something more comfortable?” Because women—and men too—tended to dress more formally in public. And at any rate, the clothes were made of different fabrics, and simply weren’t that comfortable.

I remember watching a movie set in the fifties where the description of a suspect included “he’s not wearing a hat.” A little earlier and it would have worked for a female suspect, as being unusual. and even when I was a kid (though that might have been Portugal, not the time) women didn’t leave the house without being dressed up. This involved a dress or skirt or skirt suit, and at least a “half heel”, i.e. the highest heels I wear at 56.

None of this was comfortable. It was the equivalent, nowadays, of dressing for a prom, or to attend a wedding or formal dinner.

What’s the first thing you do when you get home? You get more comfortable.

I don’t know if people still wear night clothes at home in the evening, or if I’m simply in a pocket of the culture where that doesn’t happen. I know it used to happen in the US in the early eighties. Go visit someone early in the evening, and they’re in nightclothes and robes. Or earlier than that, do you remember housedresses? My mom practically lived in one when she was home. It was a wrap-around thing that tied.

The point is, usually only intimate friends and family saw you outside of your formal clothes. “Slipping into something more comfortable” showed that the relationship was no longer just friends, or casual.

Sure, it could be used to show a woman was “dangerous”. What in hell, precisely is that sexist about? Some women were sexual predators, just like some men were. It’s called being human.

But no, they teach to these duckies that it’s objectification and sexism.

It’s like the thing with the aprons, that science fiction writers older than I think mean that Heinlein was a sexist, because he has women wearing aprons. Instead of “Everyone who worked with staining liquids and fire wore aprons. Because clothes were insanely expensive, that’s why.” We stopped wearing aprons in the measure that a pack of t-shirts at walmart is $10. Nothing to do with sexism.

I do happen to know what sexism is. I grew up in Portugal in the sixties and seventies. The culture is still relatively sexist—it’s Latin, it bears the imprints of the Moorish invasion and occupation—though mind you nothing on other cultures in the third world.

I remember being in classrooms and hearing teachers ask boys how they could bear it that I had the highest grade in a test, or being called up to the blackboard in a class where I was the only girl, and once I proved I understood the concept, having the teacher say “I see everyone understands.” I have actually been told I was “pretty smart for a woman.”

I’ve also been grabbed in the playground, and had drunkards rub against me on buses. I say this not to say that all men are bad. They aren’t. But you can’t stop bad apples, and the culture as a whole assumed women were… not inferior, except perhaps intellectually, but certainly creatures that needed looking after, as though they were children.

If you went out alone after dark, they knew what to think of you. And while they were wrong—I had two classes after dark in college, one in high school (English)—they weren’t wrong about women needing more protection. I always made sure there was either a group of us, or someone came to pick me up.

Because I knew I was weak, and had been in enough tight situations that I knew if a man was determined he could overpower me. Yeah, I usually had a knife on me. But guns were rare and it was hard to get a license.

Ask me how furious it makes me to hear these children talk about how protecting yourself is evil because the man will just seek another victim. Is it similarly evil to lock your door? A potential robber might just attack your neighbor.

Should we all make ourselves willing victims to spare others? We are, then, decided in encouraging criminals.

And then learning by rote what is “Sexist” or “Demeaning.” Dear Lord, have they lost their minds?

It is a measure of how safe and protected these girls are, that they learn these things by rote and are never curious. They never wonder WHY those things are considered sexist (in the case quoted, they aren’t. There’s an historical context and a reason for the scene and it has nothing to do with objectifying women.) they just learn to vomit it back on the test, and it gets good grades, therefore it must be true.

If you’re not aware of what they’re teaching your kids in the “college education” you’re paying for, you’re a fool. If you don’t read their text books and explode the myths and tell the kids what the context is? You’re cooperating with the destruction of Western society in a sea of mentally scrambled myth.

If you took your kids to watch Pocahontas and didn’t tell them the colonists in North America did NOT come to find gold (they were more interested in agriculture, though they went a little mad over the planting of tobacco for a while, but that was later.) you’re remiss. Heck, even the Spaniards didn’t come in search of gold (yes, El Dorado, but that was a different myth.) They came for the propagation of the faith, and to find a shorter route to India, where they expected to find not gold but spices, a vital commodity in a world without refrigeration.

Did they plunder gold? Yeah, sure. But that was later. That was not their motivation. (And yes, there’s a lot of nonsense written by Catholic priests in the Americas around that time. They were, they thought, excoriating the world, and never thought that the future would take them literally.) And there’s other stuff there, involving wars and defeated and rules of plunder.

There is context that is never explained. Like the buying “Manhattan for beads” is never explained, in the sense that beads were currency for those people, and frankly they were fairly expensive for those buying it, too.

None of this is explained. Instead, young people are taught a litany of things they can recite as reasons for offense or trauma, like some kind of Freudian rosary.

The problem with our children is that instead of education we send them to places where they try to raise their self esteem by telling them they’re simultaneously victims and oppressors, but the world can be made perfect by their admitting their privilege and fighting “oppressors.”

The problem with our children is that they’re not being educated in any sense of the word, are not being told the truth about the past or the present, let alone the future, and are taught farrago and nonsense as if it were gospel.

And it has to stop.

Because it’s not just funny movies we’re losing. They want statues of heroes (Jefferson!) destroyed, because they think this will save the world. They want to forget the past and in its place have memorized lists of good and bad things, that have no actual relation to reality.

Because that’s what they were taught.

Stuff that has no contact with reality.

And the problem there? Reality always wins.


Reprinted from According to Hoyt for October 25, 2019

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