Abril 04, 2004
The Prosaic Male Swagger...

was talking about this a while ago. There's a bravado or a machismo about blogging that manifests itself as efforts in stylism, affected and detached sneery tones, prioritizing neat-o internet links over genuine sentiment and other sorts of things. evidently feels uncomfortable about this stuff and seems to have tried to counter this tendency with pictures of dogs and people, talking about himself in a real-life sort of way (not all navel-gazey, more contemplative) only to be called "extremely" solipsistic. That sort of sucks. Most of the blogs I look at suffer from this overwrought compulsion towards asserting oneself textually or stylistically and most of them are written by men.
I don't know what else to say about it really; I've just been recognizing it a lot lately. These tendencies are all-pervasive, and men everywhere try musk up sexless or traditionally feminine domains and disciplines with an air of surrogate machismo. It's what made saggy Harold Bloom think he could put his corpulent, sack-like hand on a young Naomi Wolf's leg. It's what makes real estate agents say "Booya". It's what makes 30-year-old comic book store clerks all aggressive and snotty. In the very extreme, it punctuates all this "New Man" primping and preening and slathering.
The obvious answer is that the gender precedents of overtly male behaviour, with the sweat and gas and cursing and scratching and ignorance, is not allowed anymore but that the masculine character is so insidious that it can't be throttled under any circumstances and can even manifest itself in the act of applying moisturizer. This is probably not entirely true but I think the consistency in all of this is that all of this behaviour incorporates something predatorial or aggressive or at least assertive. I don't like it all that much. It's why I feel gross about Phil Roth and Saul Bellow, it's why I like Chantal Akerman better than Jean-Luc Godard. I'm sick of dicks everywhere. But I'm also pretty sick of vaginas too. Genitals get in the way.
I want to know what eunuchoid pop music would sound like and what gender-panic cinema would look like. I want to see women's blogs that don't just feel like approximations of what the boys are doing. Either way, I want people to recognize that male-geek-angst/hate is just as awful and cult-of-the-male as a football team daisy-chaining because both give off the whiff of territoriality and entitlement that's about as appetizing as tainted luncheon meat. Right? Am I full of shit?

Posted by at Abril 04, 2004 11:21 PM

So here I am, commenting, which by extension is opening myself up to an inspection to see if my blog smells like tainted luncheon meat, as you put it. I'm not sure if the card I should put in the window is green, yellow, or red, but whatever the swagger-o-meter nails me with in the end, I can't help the result. I just blog the way I know how - things that interest me and that are somehow tied to my life, or just tangents that I would like to remember for later, get written up, hopefully without typos.

I do know what you mean, I've read lots of male swagger on the web before, but I don't get it from caterina.net. I read her blog because she has some neat news and nice quotes from good books she is reading. I don't get any locker-room whiff from her. She's allowed to blog about stuff bigger than "What china pattern should I buy?", I think. Must she be outwardly girly (whatever that is) or silly or gender-panicked to be counted among the non-swaggerers?

Hustler of Culture is pretty fun and I don't think it smells - in fact I can verify that Souris smells great. Last time I saw her, I think I got a whiff of that nice shampooey clean hair smell. (http://www.husterofculture.com) There's piles of blogs by women that I don't think have this bad aroma listed on YULblog, the Montreal bloggers directory (http://www.yulblog.org).

But of course, the author and dear readers of this blog may beg to differ with any or all of these points.

Posted by: MK on Abril 6, 2004 05:43 AM .

I like your blog. It wasn't so much blogs that smell like tainted luncheon meat, it's more masculine entitlement that smells like tainted luncheon meat and this smell sometimes permeates some blogs. I like blogs.

I don't even know if I really meant what I said about caterina.net.

It was sort of underhanded. I guess it seems to me that her blog isn't saying much more than "what china pattern should I buy?" because she spends an awful lot of space trying to demonstrate how litewawy she is and it comes off as a plea for approval. She uses her blog as an index of her fabulous taste in literature and the break-neck pace at which she ploughs through big fat books but she never contributes anything especially new or interesting or exciting. I wouldn't suggest some sort of relegation of women and their blogs from the Exclusively Masculine Domain of Culture because that would be ridiculous. Her blog just reeks of effort.

...I find.

Posted by: TheDiscourse on Abril 6, 2004 09:27 PM .

Whoops - Souris' blog is http://www.hustlerofculture.com

Hustler, not huster. hee hee.

Yeah, caterina.net is maybe trying to be literary, but then she posts about slurping her soup and I'm like, OK, cool.

Posted by: MK on Abril 6, 2004 10:35 PM .

does blogging or football or being macho have anything to do with moving on?

Posted by: Mr. Jupiter on Mayo 7, 2004 10:19 PM .

towards what?

Posted by: TheDiscourse on Mayo 8, 2004 12:45 AM .

Towards nothing. Just, you know, "moving on", in an open-ended, Dr Phil kind of way. I've been watching Dr Phil, out here in Napanee. It's kind of horrifying and fascinating. Also good on the elaborate cable TV are the myriad decorating shows, to which several stations seem to be entirely dedicated, and Anthony Bourdain's Cook's Tour. Last night Bourdain ate an entire pig, except for its bladder, with which, in lieu of eating, he inflated and played soccer.

Posted by: adHominem on Mayo 8, 2004 11:28 AM .

I've noticed, in retrospect, that that last sentence was grammatically wanting, and that as a result, the terrorists have probably won. I'm very sorry.

Posted by: adHominem on Mayo 9, 2004 08:55 PM .

We are all abused Iraqis now?

Posted by: TheDiscourse on Mayo 9, 2004 10:13 PM .

It's funny that you should mention Tony Bourdain because I'm okay with him in spite of all his gastronomical male swaggering; I think that I give chefs more leeway than I do, say, male actors or photographers (anyone purporting to be either of these things is a total fucking human write-off). French last names help an awful lot also.

Posted by: TheDiscourse on Mayo 10, 2004 12:29 PM .

Tony gets away with it, for sure. He's a chef, but he's rail-thin and chainsmokes. Also he writes hard-boiled crime novels, which contain recipes. We all know how much I love the mystery+recipe combination.

Posted by: adHominem on Mayo 11, 2004 11:25 AM .
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