Thursday, December 01, 2005

Anti-Anti-Americans revisited

Paul Berman in The New Republic, 28 Nov via David T at Harry's Place). It's a long article: read especially the passage starting
These three hatreds--of women, of Jews, and of Americans--happen to be the three pillars on which modern radical Islamism stands, the hatreds that led Khomeini to launch his Islamist revolution by veiling women and by declaring his jihad against Zionism and the American Great Satan. Glucksmann is not interested in parsing the Islamist ideology, though. He takes up these hatreds in their Western or European version, and he shows that, in this version, the differences between these seemingly disparate hatreds are not so vast as all that.

For why do men hate women? No one ever declares such a hatred. What men speak about, instead, is a perfection of love--a world of the perfect couple, created by the perfect woman, without fault or blemish. And yet, neither the perfect couple nor the perfect woman can ever exist, the human condition being what it is. And so, the more that a man extols a woman's love as the apogee of perfection and bliss, the more his attention focuses on the failings of any given flesh-and-blood woman at hand. And what are these failings, if not the human condition itself--the inability to be perfect? Men rail at women, and even set out to murder women, sometimes in gigantic numbers, as in the classic witch-hunts of Europe. This is always done in the name of a perfection that would surely exist, if only women weren't so damnably imperfect.
Damn it, read the whole thing. (I do recall reading the original article cited by David T towards the end of 2003.) See also an excerpt from POWER AND THE IDEALISTS.


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