Friday, December 15, 2017

Betraying Lysistrata

The Parthenon in Athens
The comedy by Aristophanes originally performed in Athens in 411 BCE, is being betrayed by the women’s liberation movement, just as democracy’s latest iteration is unravelling.
Lysistrata was an Athenian woman who succeeded in bringing an end to a war with Sparta by getting her friends to deprive the fighters of sex. Twenty-one centuries later, newscasters and politicians mention nuclear war with North Korea as something that could actually happen, while they zero in on reports by the most powerful women the world has ever known that men have touched them at the wrong time in wrong places and in wrong ways.
Following upon accusations of inappropriate actions involving young women reaching back decades on the part of a judge running for the US Senate (and who is otherwise known for flouting his religiosity), women who had probably all but forgotten incidents that took place in their youth suddenly felt the need to speak out. But it’s one thing to want to stop a child molester from acceding to high public office, as in the case of Alabama Republican Judge Roy Moore, it’s quite another for the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to feel compelled to demonstrate her feminist bona fides by calling for the eighty-eight year old black civil rights leader and longest serving representative to resign for having paid off an accuser, then whipping up a campaign among her female colleagues to literally force pro-women’s rights comedian turned Senator Al Franken to do the same, in penance for mainly playful advances toward women, in order to show Alabama voters that the Democratic Party holds the moral high ground.
I have nothing but revulsion for Roy Moore and hope Alabamans reject the candidate the President is backing because of his need for enough Republicans to pass his atrocious tax bill.  But I can’t help thinking that some of the women who have come forth to indict various public figures, in the past failed to put ‘solliciters’ in their place and today are simply unable to resist a moment in the limelight. 
As for the leaders of the feminist movement, I accuse them of relegating the threat of nuclear war to the background of feminist concerns.  In the end, there is not that much difference between the ‘me’ era and the ‘me too’ campaign.  Both have conspired to make educated Americans  — whom I thought had the most ‘intelligence sophistication’ of any group in the world in the nineteen-seventies — the most gullible of any sophisticated group in the world.  Of course they wring their hands over the presence of a huckster in the White House, but the depth of their despair over a fact that is difficult to change appears to have prevented them from reacting to the existential threats that flow from it, starting but not limited to nuclear war.
I have not the slightest doubt that this paralysis is partly an outcome of the decades-long ‘me’ movement, fueled by a politically correct devotion to individualism that relegates threats to the survival of the species to the lowest rung on the ladder of priorities.  It was much criticized in its early days, and yet, as most negative social phenomena, it entrenched itself, aided by an media power. 

Now it could very well play the role of Nero’s fiddle.

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