This is not a post proper, but I’ve been doing some catch-up on my blog-reading schedule (which is merciless, by the way – I read a lot of blogs), and I wanted to alert all y’alls to a couple of fine posts regarding the tragedy in Oslo, Norway.
Michael Kimmel for Sociological Images: A Tale of Two Terrorists Redux
This is a really fantastic piece examining the similarities between terrorist Anders Behring Breivik and Timothy McVeigh, the man responsible for the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, and the way in which ultra-conservative terrorists tend to cite the emasculation of society as one of their chief complaints. Says Kimmel:
First, they feel that current political and economic conditions have emasculated them, taken away the masculinity to which they feel they are entitled by birth. In the U.S., they feel they’ve been emasculated by the “Nanny State” through taxation, economic policies and political initiatives that demand civil rights and legal protection for everyone. They feel deprived of their entitlement (their ability to make a living, free and independent) by a government that now doles it out to everyone else – non-whites, women, and immigrants. The emasculation of the native-born white man has turned a nation of warriors into a nation of lemmings, or “sheeple” as they often call other white men. In The Turner Diaries, the movement’s most celebrated text, author William Pierce sneers at “the whimpering collapse of the blond male,” as if White men have surrendered, and have thus lost the right to be free.
Second, they use gender to problematize the “other” against whom they are fighting. Consistently, the masculinity of native-born white Protestants is set off against the problematized masculinity of various “others” – blacks, Jews, gay men, other non-white immigrants – who are variously depicted as either “too” masculine (rapacious beasts, avariciously cunning, voracious) or not masculine “enough” (feminine, dependent, effeminate). Racism, anti-Semitism, nativism, and homophobia all are expressed through denunciations of the others’ masculinity.
Read the full piece here.
Roxane Gay for The Rumpus: Tragedy. Call. Compassion. Response.
This is a beautifully written piece about both the tragedy in Norway, and about the death of Amy Winehouse. It’s a long one, and covers so many emotions that I don’t feel I can adequately summarize it, but for a taste of just how lovely the language is, consider the following:
All too often, suffering exists in a realm beyond vocabulary so we navigate that realm awkwardly, fumbling for the right words, hoping we can somehow approximate an understanding of matters that should never have to be understood by anyone in any place in the world.
You’d be remiss if you did not read the full piece here.