Virtuous Violence

August 21, 2017

There’s a secret to bending the most toxic element of masculinity toward whatever political ends you want; dress it up as virtuous.


When you look at the myth of the Hero, the man who stands above the world as a savior and leader, he is always wreathed in violence. King Arthur’s badge of office was a sword. Saint George stood over a dead dragon. Heracles was driven mad to violence then used various acts of violence to attone. The entire cycle of Hindu Vedas surrounds various wars and how violence is both ennobling and necessary. The greatest gods of every place on earth are described with a power above all others that grant them the description of “greatest of the gods” – violence. Men are taught from the earliest that violence can not only be good but be holy, be virtuous. Even our idiomatic idea of a defender – the White Knight – is a vision of ennobled violence.

This is a dangerous thing for all of us.

Read the rest of this entry »


A Cruel Wind Blows

August 14, 2017

A little while ago I wrote about emotions, about how our emotional maps are built, and how masculinity has deep roots in one particular emotion – violence. Around the temple to that emotion is an array of the stems and roots of violence in masculinity – the spear, the arrow, the club. Thousands of years ago, men started to tell each other that these things helped define what it means to be a man. At first it may have been in use in the hunt, but eventually the hunters turned their weapons on other people. They were celebrated for that violence, and thus violence became solidified.

This weekend, the echoes of those actions brought terror to the United States and, specifically, to the ongoing targets of that violence on the internet – people of color, women, queer people, liberal people, Muslims, Jewish people. Especially, though, Black people, Jewish people, and other targets of the KKK and the Nazis. This is the legacy of tradition, a tradition going back thousands of years to those spears, arrows, and clubs.

This is what is born of masculinity’s tradition of violence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Temples of Violence

June 19, 2017

You stand on a wide, green field. An elysium field. This field is dotted with hills, some massive and some small, and usually in clusters. This green field waves with unseen winds, some coming from the hillsides and some falling from some spectre that haunts it in certain places.

There are places in this field, though, where dark things dwell. Where the grass dies, where the sky seems dark only there, and where the earth feels pitiless and hard. Places where the hills seem meanacing and the winds cut deep within the soul and burn the bones.

Scattered around these places, some on hills and some in the wide valleys between, are temples made of clean stone and strong timbers, even in the dark places. These temples are built to a variety of styles and focuses, each hung with the trappings of their devotion.

This is your emotional landscape and the temples, themselves, your emotions.

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: