Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm All In - Part 2

In I'm All In, I promised a follow-up when I was more capable of dealing rationally with the issue. But ultimately, this does affect me on a much deeper level than the rational, and probably in a way that Shakes might disapprove of.

Ya see, I'm a patriarch. Note the lower-case p. I didn't set out to be one, it was a complete accident, but I'm the head of a household and I'm male-bodied, and the other parties are female-bodied, and there it is.

It's all "old tapes," but they are the only tapes we have. Clearly they are of a better quality than those of our parents - but at some point, we-all nodded, looked at each other and stopped worrying about stuff that works, even when it "shouldn't."

There's enough stuff that doesn't work when it should to fuss about such things, especially when you are getting invitations to join the AARP in the mail.

I'll probably write an amusing, gently enlightning post on the ethical culture of the enlightened patriarchy sometime. But right now, I think it more useful to react to this unapologetically as a person cast in that role and unembarrassed to admit it.

Why? Because "Patriarch" does not mean "perp!" (I understand your confusion, trust me!)

It is not synonymous with bully culture or jock culture. It is a social structure and it has it's own ethos and standards, coming from the Middle East and the Levitical code, and as much again from Scots and Irish clan structure.

It has bad aspects and good aspects, and I'd be the first to admit - hell, insist - that far more of the bad than the good are entrenched in our culture. Quite fucking deliberately. You see, in an ethical patriarchy, there are mutual obligations of duty, fealty, protection, loyalty and obedience, and, well, such things are so very awkward and inconvenient to Men of the World, eh?

But like any other social structure, it's ONLY justification and the only reason to donate any portion of your liberty and freedom of action is to enhance your life and allow you to grow and flourish as a person to the degree that you can.

It's the duty of the Patriarch to ensure that his group, his clan, his family DOES flourish.

Crap like that - that ensures the precise opposite. It ensures corruption, rot and heedlessness. It is not patriarchy, it's a Rape Culture. Don't dignify it with the term "Patriarchy."

The idea that this happened within an ambulance service is particularly shocking; it's the betrayal of duty on so many different levels that I'm enraged.

But worst of all is this:

...In July, 2005, the chief executive of the NSW Ambulance Service, Greg Rochford, wrote to Mr Hodder and said an investigation had been completed.

The letter, also made public, reveals the service began the investigation three days before Christine Hodder died and found a culture of male dominance... It recommended staff receive training in workplaces free of harassment and bullying, that the service should explore how to change the behaviour of staff, and that no female officer be appointed to Cowra for six months.

No officer was disciplined.

In my understanding of the term, this would mean that it would be time for a new Patriarch. because the old leader would have proven that he was unworthy, a useless leader.

If I go to my Norman roots, I believe the term would be "A Luckless Foe-Bringer."

No person "under my hand" can be considered truly dispensable, and women hold a special place in patriarchies. And no, it's not for the "obvious reasons." Women, if protected, well fed and unstressed, LIVE longer than men; considerably longer than men who wear swords or hunt boar with spears and hounds; even when you factor in the risks of childbirth.

Meanwhile, again, if you look back at it, men have to learn active and dangerous skills, and become very good at them very quickly if they ever expect to get out of their twenties alive.

That's why in most cultures, women manage the household. They are the ones with the planning skills, the training, the knowledge. Men - men, for the most part, are expendable.

Men who manage to avoid being expended in service to the clan have a shot at becoming a Patriarch. But the job isn't different - it's just that instead of your life or your dignity, personally, it's the life, honor and dignity of your clan at stake and there's always the possibility that you will have to suck in your antique gut, strap your rusty sword on your hip and hope that you give a good enough account of yourself that your widow(s) will have some ground upon which to negotiate. You will do this because your life IS your family, your clan, your group, and you fucked up. Even if your fuckup was to tolerate a fuckups, Daddy doesn't permit unfixed fuckups on his watch.

Of all the occasions of all the drama within all the sagas of patriarchal cultures, all too much of it has to do with rapes of, thefts of and insults to women. Why is that? It's not due to any historical shortage of nookie.

Women are the institutional memory of the clan. And when clans and tribes stole women, they were stealing knowledge, techniques, spiritual concepts - part of your tribe's "mana." In other words, women do not merely represent status and power - they ARE the power, and confer that status.

The children they bear are the future of the tribe, the family, the clan. That's all the real wealth there is, to be decorated with gold and other trinkets to indicate value, not display wealth.

You go into any current patriarchal culture, and you will probably find an old woman dripping in gold sitting quietly somewhere to the left and behind of the man in charge.

Watch her very carefully. She taught him most everything he knows and he will make no decision without her. And not merely due to habit, indoctrination and culture, but because she has the wisdom.

(I am of the opinion that functional patriarchal cultures are actually dual cultures - publicly patriarchal, privately matriarchal, of equal overall significance. Not that we have a lot of history relating to sane cultures...)

But it seems to be one expression of a natural pattern. Take my wife - no punchline. I didn't lose my freedom when I married her, I gained the wisdom to know how badly I needed her. Just ask her, she'll tell ya.

And she would be entirely correct.

There are things that she can do that I cannot, and vice versa. Due to our mutual histories, there is really only one workable pattern for us, and since it looks like patriarchy, and I have the beard for it, that's what we shall call it.

Ok, I'm obviously having to sneak up on the essence of this.

This wasn't a "sin of the Patriarchy." This was murder, pure and simple. And betrayal of trust. And depraved indifference. It is flat out the funkiest case of evil I've recently heard of - and I've been talking about Karl Rove. So as a patriarch, I have to wonder, why is she dead and her husband suing, rather than the other way around?

Because that's his fucking job. In a real Patriarchal culture, or just a Male-Dominated one, it was his job to go in, take HER boss (overseer / patriarch) aside and conversationally say that if such issues ever arise again, he will be held personally accountable.

And if they do, as they did, sneer and ignore that promise, it's his duty to carry through. However that works out.

Apparently the culture of that remote town was perverted enough to anticipate that and work against him as well - but in such cases, it's the Patriarch's duty, yeah, his duty to god (can you hear the voice roll?)to LEAD his people OUT of bondage in this Egypt of death Toward a new dawn in the Promised Land.

Or, more practically speaking, Canada.

I do not approve of such a culture, where "crap flows downhill" and the people below exist only to be picked on. I don't approve of a culture where such a thing could be shrugged off as unchangeable. Because, if all else fails, it's easily changed.

Testicles seem designed to be detached from the undeserving. I think of that as a feature, not a bug.

I consider it unethical to either kick down or kiss up, and both behaviors strike me as both contemptible and inexplicable. That's my Asperger's, I'm told. If so, I'm thinking that aspect to be evidence supporting the possibility of human evolution.

I do not think it at all improper to remove people from the gene pool when they prove themselves genetically incapable of decency in the presence of high levels of testosterone, so my avocation of neutering dangerously large problem children is the essence of Compassionate Conservatism.

I imagine I'll have more to say about the Ethics of the Patriarchy, since when I think on it, it's pretty much the lack of them I talk about, so it might be an idea to illustrate an affirmative standard. I won't be doing that in Patriarchy's defense. My standard for Patriarchy is the same as it is for Republicanism or Democracy or for that matter, "Feminist Cabals."

They are to be judged for what they are, what they achieve and at what price.

And I, for one, am decidedly unimpressed with achievements that boil down to unusually durable or especially deadly phallic symbols.

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