Straw-Man-Splaining

A straw-man, cowering in fear from a feminist journalist

It’s said that feminists hate men. But that doesn’t appear to be entirely true. Feminist journalists, at least, are in love with one type of man. The straw-man.

A straw-man is a common mistake in reasoning, whereby someone claims to have refuted an opponent’s argument, when in fact they have attacked something that their opponent did not actually say. Probably the most famous example of the feminist love-affair with straw-men is journalist Cathy Newman badgering psychologist Jordan Peterson for 30 minutes, with “So you’re saying …”, when he hadn’t said anything like that.

Not to be outdone, Australian journalist Tess Livingstone has jumped into the fray, clinging for dear life to her own beloved straw-men, accusing Peterson of

regurgitat[ing] discredited male chauvinism of the 1970s …

The first lie is that you are going to have a career,’’ Peterson opines. “No, a tiny fraction of people have careers, maybe 2 per cent.’’ Two per cent? Hardly, especially among graduates of good schools that expect students to aim high and work hard

Livingstone deliberately omits what Peterson said immediately next, providing crucial context:

Most people have jobs. And the definition of a job is an activity that you get paid for, because you wouldn’t do it voluntarily.

Peterson’s other extraordinary contention is that jobs, which are what 98 per cent of working people have as opposed to careers, are not meaningful or desirable. Jobs, he says, are difficult, unpleasant and require responsibility and difficult decisions, which is why people are paid to do them.

How many people does she think would turn up to their jobs tomorrow if they weren’t going to get paid?

19-year-old girls, who he says “know nothing’’

No, he says all 19-year-olds know nothing. He has said the same of himself as a teenager. And he’s right. I knew nothing much at 19, either but, like every adolescent, I deluded myself otherwise.

Unfortunately, we live in what Peterson calls a “pathological culture” that endlessly fetishises youth. Where, as Wilde said, “the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience”. Worse, we have spent the past few decades cultivating what one might call “Princess Culture.” A female counterpart to the perpetually adolescent “man-children” Peterson chastises.

Family life and big careers, however, are not mutually exclusive, as women know.

Livingstone is trying to peddle the big lie of feminism: that women can “have it all”. Camille Paglia has repeatedly debunked this claim. The truth is that anyone who chooses a career has to make a trade-off. No-one, man or woman, can “have it all”.

Like too many journalists, Livingstone chooses to ignore half of what Peterson says, grossly misrepresent the rest, and deny plain biological reality. For instance, Livingstone is shocked – shocked – when Peterson’s interviewer observes that plenty of young men in the dating scene are well aware of and happy to exploit, older women’s “baby rabies”: their late-30s desperation to have the children they have spent nearly decades telling themselves they didn’t want or need.

One wonders whether Livingstone has ever spent any time around young men at all.

Characteristically, she chooses to interpret this as, not simple human nature, but some kind of pathology. Livingstone is helping perpetuate what Peterson, Paglia, and Christina Hoff-Somers criticise as the “war on boys”: the feminist project of trying to emasculate male behaviour, and engineer boys into behaving like girls.


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Who is Lushington D. Brady?

Well, a pseudonym. Obviously.

But the name Lushington Dalrymple Brady has been chosen carefully. Not only for the sum of its overall mien of seedy gentility, reminiscent perhaps of a slightly disreputable gentlemen of letters, but also for its parts, each of which borrows from the name of a Vandemonian of more-or-less fame (or notoriety) who represents some admirable quality which will hopefully animate the persona of Lushington D. Brady.

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