Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I am a dictator pawn

Why have I still got a cold? It isn't fair. I did not have to work today (I finished at Tuesday's university last week) but didn't feel well enough to even go to meet my friends as I usually do on Tuesday evenings. I decided to stay home and finish up the grading for the classes I'll be teaching on Thursday and Friday, but haven't even managed that. Instead, I have been sitting here, occasionally falling asleep, and occasionally clicking on another web link.

Clicking on web links can take you to some strange places.

Echidne of the Snakes directed me to what she described as an extremely odd and almost hallucinatory piece written by the 'renowned writer' Nancy Levant, and naturally I went to check it out.

Within a couple of paragraphs I found myself wondering, renowned for what? For mangling the English language? How does someone who writes so horribly get to be a 'renowned writer'? I want to know. If she can be renowned, that raises the possibility that I could become WORLD FAMOUS, because even I know you do not need an apostrophe in making end's meet. Also, you do not need to read my sentences three or four times, mentally editing them differently each time, in the hope that eventually you'll get them right and be able to figure out what I am trying to say. Do you? (Not even that sentence? Really?) I even wondered if perhaps English was not Nancy's native language, but came to the conclusion that only a native speaker could regurgitate such a dog's breakfast. It takes familiarity with a language to treat it with such extreme disrespect.

All my mental editing skills could not help me to figure out, in the end, what point this Nancy person is trying to get across, except that FEMINISM IS BAD AND WILL MAKE YOU STERILE, OVERWORKED, AND DRUG ADDICTED. Also, I got the idea that she believes the world is ruled by a handful of very, very sneaky, evil men, who dreamed up "feminism," "environmentalism," "healthcare," "education" and "global economy," as ways of controlling us all and strangling us in double quote marks. However, I am not sure whether it's because "they" want us to have more babies or fewer. Both, if I read her correctly, but is there a correct way to read writing like that?

I could understand this bit at the end, though. I can tell when an insult has been aimed at me, even when it misses:

And to the world’s feminists – I say this: You are the dumbest women who have ever walked the face of the Earth. Week by week, day by day, you are losing every right you thought you invented. You fell hook, line, and sinker into the dialectic, and you are nothing but dictator pawns to the larger mission of total control over people and freedom.

Well, I exaggerate a little. I do not understand it all. I understand the first sentence. I understand that she is calling me one of the dumbest women to have ever walked the face of the Earth. To that I find myself able to retort, with great confidence: I AM NOT. There are lots of women who are dumber than me. Men, too. So put that in your anti-feminist hat and smoke it, along with your other mixed metaphors!

But the rest of that quote has me quite lost. I am fairly sure that I have not fallen into a dialectic, although it is hard to say because I am not quite certain what it entails. The more I think about it the less sense it makes. Have I been getting the meaning of dialectic wrong all these years? I looked it up, just in case, and here is what I found:


/dilektik/ Philosophy
• noun (also dialectics) usu. treated as sing. 1 the investigation of the truth of opinions, especially by logical discussion. 2 enquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions. 3 the existence or action of opposing social forces, concepts, etc.
That was pretty much what I thought, but I am still not sure how one falls into an investigation of the truth of opinions, especially by logical discussion. Or rather, I am not quite sure how it could be a BAD thing. I suspect what she means is that she does not want anybody investigating the truth of her opinions, and especially not if they are using logic. There are obvious reasons why that would be a bad thing for her. But for the rest of us, falling into dialectics could be quite a good thing, I think. It wouldn't even mess up our hair (unless we insisted on falling with a hook, line and sinker, in which case it might).

But here's the bit I really like. According to this renowned writer, I am a dictator pawn. I am not entirely sure what a dictator pawn is, but I like the idea of being one. Is it a pawn who dictates? Or the pawn of a dictator? I have decided to interpret it as the former. I like the idea of being a pawn (a person used by others for their own purposes) who is also a dictator ( a ruler with total power over a country.) It's so wonderfully oxymoronic, like being a killer bunny. (Or, come to think of it, like being a 'renowned writer' who cannot write.) Monty Python, anybody?

Nancy Levant wants us to read her book, "The Cultural Devastation of American Women." If you do, she says, you will:

Find out why you are, in fact, depressed and unhappy as contemporary women.

Who is depressed and unhappy? Not me! Dictator pawns are never depressed and unhappy. Confused, maybe. A little bloodthirsty, perhaps. But depressed?



Hooch said...

I initially misread your heading.


My mental image of the pink-headed prawn in his military uniform was kinda cute.

I imagine that Nancy Levant's face turns a similar shade of prawn as she furiously taps out her indignation. Except hers would have a bit of white-foamed spit in the corner of her mouth.

Mind you... falling hook, line and sinker seems appropriate for a dictator prawn.

Badaunt said...

"Dictator prawn" is, in fact, what I kept typing. I had to correct myself every time (and your comment made me go back and check the whole thing again).

But it's a shame it isn't what she wrote. It might have made more sense, or at least been funnier.

Anonymous said...

Honest truth: I also read it as "dictator prawn." Hope you don't mind if I take a pass on reading her website; not sure I'd survive an assault by gratuitous and/or misused/abused apostrophes.

Wow, that was almost like, nested slashes. Or something.

Carrie said...

Wow. I read her article just to see what you were talking about and I am amazed. What in the bleepity-bleeping hell is she talking about? She must not live in America because there are certainly no government sponsored daycare or health care plots here. We wish there were! It sounds like she's been reading some really bad sci-fi and taking it for truth. I am never going to use quotes again, thanks to her.

kenju said...

LOL....why don't you tell us how you really feel?

Oh, boy, is she off base!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I admire you for perservering with that article! I'd had enough once she started raving about "mental health" and "anti-depressants". She really loves her quotation marks doesn't she!

Hope your cold gets better soon you dictator pawn!

Shaun Ryder said...

Aye, iss true, a lot of these feminists are lesbians too. Not the lesbians that you see on telly when it's late, but the other ones oo are all 'orrible an' that.

Badaunt said...

Shaunie, are you stalking me? If you start using any big words around here I'll confiscate your dictionary.