Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cowboy Culture Redux

Last week this post sparked a bit of controversy, inspired several hatemails (seriously, boys, you can just say this stuff in the comments), and made me do some more thinking about cowboy culture. Here are some of my thoughts:
  1. I don't think that misogyny is intrinsic to cowboy culture. But I also don't think it's a coincidence that traditionally male characteristics and virtues and activities are preferenced by far over traditionally female traits and roles. And I think the nostaligia for a time when everyone knew their place and their role and didn't try to buck the system is often tinged with misogyny. For one thing, that time and place never really existed as we imagine it. And to the extent that it did exist, it was an era of prosperity-for-some built upon the exploitation-and-silencing-of-the-many.
  2. I don't think that taking a conservative political stance is intrinsic to cowboy culture. I could conceive of a liberal cowboy. It's logically possible.
  3. I think it's true that some women did carve out a special niche in the wild west, as one anonymous commenter mentioned. My own great-great-grandmother was a widowed homesteader who took on the work of running and expanding the farm while raising two children and earning the respect of the entire community. But I think that, generally speaking, these women only earned the respect and approval for their work because it was undertaken out of necessity. I also have a great-aunt who was a skillful manager of land, crops, animals, and children. She had the misfortune of marrying an under-motivated man who was a bit too fond of the drink, so she basically kept her family from financial ruin by running the ranch herself. But because she had a man and was not undertaking the management of the ranch out of tragic necessity, she was branded a nagging shrew and unwomanly, and the fact that she "wore the pants in the family" was widely held to be the cause of her husband's failings. To this day her kids are terribly bitter about the way their mother was portrayed and treated by the community when they witnessed the reality of the situation and are grateful for her strength and resourcefulness.
  4. I also think that when the women discussed in #3 were respected, it was only insofar as they approximated masculinity. But I admit that that may be a bit of an over generalization.
  5. I do think there's a strong link in our cultural mythology between the cowboy and the soldier, as it has been eloquently pointed out. I'm a bit out of touch with the country music scene, but it seems like there was a strong tendency to riff off of September 11 and advocate war and oversimplify the complex political landscape in favor of the picture of the brave patriot and the rugged cowboy-soldier defending freedom in the country music world. But this seems kind of strange to me, because I've known a lot of people in the military, and real life in the military doesn't seem to mesh with our mythology of the cowboy at all. The first thing they do in the military is purge you of your independence and your identity and whatever tendencies you may have to stand on your own two feet and pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. So it seems to me like our idealized cowboy would be bitterly unhappy in the military. Similarly, I don't see why being willing to take a bullet for others is a mentality that would have to be limited to cowboys. No doubt some cowboys were so loyal to their friends and family that they would take a bullet for them. But there are also instances of many, many non-cowboys doing the same. So I don't think this connection withstands any scrutiny.
  6. I also thought this comment, from our previously mentioned anonymous commenter was very apt


    sometimes the individualism card is overplayed, when in reality government helped to build the west, especially in the case of the railroads
  7. The parallel between playing at being a cowboy and playing at being a princess that frank pointed out seems right to me.
  8. Beatriz's explanation of the roots of cowboy culture and Spanish imperialism was informative and really helped round out my understanding of cowboy culture.
  9. Similarly, Kelly's comment about the realities of the relationship between ranchers and the animals they care for, as well as their relationships with the financial institutions on which they rely, was valuable and informative.
Your thoughts?

32 comments:

  1. Damien8/04/2009

    I think it's pretty typical to pine for an earlier period that seems more simple and straightforward in the collective imagination. This is probably true during times of relatively more social mobility and shifting cultural views.

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  2. Kathryn8/04/2009

    Yes, I wouldn't say misogyny is intrinsic to cowboy culture, but it does seem to mesh with it pretty well. Hence words like "goatroper" as an insult.

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  3. Ms. Rachel - Page 1 of 2

    On a positive note I think your second pass on your judgment of Cowboy Culture is considerably more balanced and less cynical than the original post on 7/23/09. Good for you.

    To be clear, you reference people that have been emailing you on this subject. Just so your friends know, I haven't emailed you on this as of this writing. I expect you to confirm that fact if asked.

    I've now had the time to review all of the detail from the 7/23 post / comments and the 8/4 post. I'll be honest, I'm still not happy about your lack of effort to understand and communicate fairly on this issue. It's particularly concerning given that you present yourself as an Education Professional whom I assume has been appropriately trained on critical and fair review, but I'll leave that up to the NEA (unless you're tenured, then it's too late). That said, this is America and you're totally entitled to your opinion. I understand that the fact that I am not happy with your approach is my problem, not yours.

    While I'd love to sit here and try to justify the culture of the West to you and your Misandrist friends I believe I have a more fair, balanced and equitable solution to actually see if you have communicated truthfully and graciously about the Cowboy Culture.

    I see you didn't respond to my previous request for you to submit your original post to your local newspaper. As I'm certain you don't have any concern about justifying your fairness and even handed review of this issue I'm going to assume you just didn't see my post.

    In consideration of this and the fact that all of us are busy in our chosen professions I'd like to make the following offer in front of The Feminist Gods, all Women's Studies Graduates, your Clones, all residents of Wyoming and Montana and you (and my CPA).

    I'm not a wealthy man, but I understand there are allot of goofs on the web that spout off for no reason. Although it is clear that money is a very poor substitute for character in the world of Misandry I'm willing to make the following offer to you in order facilitate the communication and understanding of your views to your Wyoming neighbors. I'm certain that it will open the lines of communication and everyone will be enlightened.

    These are real American Greenbacks, which I'm more than willing to escrow with my Accountant upon your acceptance to make you comfortable. I'm even willing to escrow these funds at a mutually acceptable neutral entity to prove my good faith assuming you have appropriate representation. Let me know.

    Sorry - Needed two posts

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  4. Ms. Rachel - Page 2 of 2

    Here's the Deal:

    - $500 - cash payment to you personally (or your Blog or Associates) when you submit the 7/23/09 posting complete with unedited comments to your local newspaper AND it is published in the print & web edition of the paper. Obviously I'd need to sign off on the newspaper, confirm some acceptable level of distribution and receive a hard copy of the publication as proof. Minor detail if you are on board.
    - $500 - incremental cash payment to you personally (or your Blog or Associates) when you submit your 8/4/09 posting and all comments, including this and subsequent posts to the same newspaper with the same confirmation as noted above.

    So, that's a Grand. Not chump change. I know you can't retire on it, but this is semi-serious money. TO BE PERFECTLY CLEAR, I don't want your name, address or phone number. If we do this deal we do it through a neutral third party as I've already seen how quick you and your clones want to shift into victim mode.

    I think you've been unfair, disingenuous and mean spirited to the Cowboy Culture, particularly if you've been living in Wyoming for several years. So...since it is all about empowering women and telling the truth, Let's Rock. I'm sure your neighbors will be thrilled to hear your views.

    I'll be sending an email to you personally within fifteen minutes so you can respond to me directly. I'd expect any response to be copied back to your blog, in the interest of full disclosure to your groupies.

    Just so your lemmings know, I'm not too worried about paying out. That said, I'd be happy to do in under the defined terms.

    BurnBrother

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  5. Burn,

    1) I wasn't trying to make you feel better about any of this. Your feelings are your own problem.

    2) I never said misogyny was an intrinsic part of cowboy culture.

    3) Since you clearly consider me a liar, it hardly seems worth saying much to you. And honestly, your opinion of me is pretty low in my priority list. But I'll repeat: I have disucssed this stuff with a number of other people who live here, both natives and transplants like me. Nobody's strung me up by my thumbs yet. In fact, nobody's even yelled at me. We've had discussions of it, but never any fights. And most of my friends, and the ones I've discussed this with are men, and at least half of them are originally from here.

    4) I never said I was an "Education Professional." My area of expertise is not Education, it's Philosophy.

    5) What's the NEA? I'm a member of the APA and teach Logic and Critical Thinking courses as well as other courses in Philosophy at the college level. I've taught at several large universities including UCLA, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, and UW. And my PhD is in Philosophy, so of course I've had courses in Critical Thinking and Logic. It seems to me that you have not, as you seem to be incapable of actually responding to a person's argument with relevant information. Ad hominems and strawmen earn you a FAIL in the courses I teach. If you think I'm wrong about some point I made, by all means, rebut it with some relevant fact or observation. But the key word here is relevant. Personal attacks don't prove anything other than the fact that you either can't argue or you have no facts to back up your position.

    6) I'm not a Women's Studies graduate, nor am I a "Misandrist." I encourage you to check out the posts I've written, here and at Feministing, on how patriarchy harms men too. Being opposed to patriarchy and systemic oppression in all forms does not make you a hater of individual men.

    7) It's not all about empowering women for me. It's about analyzing social dynamics that preference some people while devaluing others, and it's about social justice. If you'd read my blog before, you would know that my take on cowboy culture is a tiny fraction of what I write/think about. 2 posts out of 170, to be exact.

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  6. voiceofreason8/06/2009

    I think there is a difference between full-blown misogyny and a preferential valuing of traits, virtues, and activities that are thought to be exclusively male. And who can deny that cowboy culture does preferentially value everything male? Are you specifically denying this, BurnBrother?

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  7. Rachel - unfortunately this is going to have to be two pages also - page 1 of 2:

    1) No Kidding. I said that in my post (3rd Para) to quote " That said, this is America and you're totally entitled to your opinion. I understand that the fact that I am not happy with your approach is my problem, not yours." Can't believe you missed that with your vast expertise.

    2) I don't recall who posted it and I'm not going back to reread everything. I will say that any reasonably intelligent person understands the gist of your world view after reading the original posts and responses.

    3) I didn't say you were a Liar, you did. Now that it appears you are an employee of the Wyoming University System I certainly understand that if you self-selected fellow academics they probably were fine with your opinion. That's how your world works. You all get together and feel good about how intelligent you are. There's is allot of validation in that approach AND it's good for your self image. That said, I'm pretty confident you didn't ask them to read your original post, as I'm also pretty certain that natives (no matter how smart their degrees tell them they are) would have had an issue with your content. Now there is always a chance that I could be mistaken, hence my offer to you from yesterday. Let's find out.

    4) Your profile says "Industry - Education". Based upon your pontification about your extensive teaching experience it looks like I was correct in my "leap of logic" that you are an Educational Professional, right? I know I didn't take your Logic Class and as you note, I probably would have failed it. In any case, looks like I was right on this one. If you want readers to know that your industry is Philosophy maybe you should change your profile. In truth I can appreciate why you posted Education instead of Philosophy. That way people don't know exactly how much of an elitist, liberal, superior, condescending blogger (I'm being nice here) to expect in your space. I think it was actually a good approach for you. Don't go changin'.

    5) I believe the NEA stands National Education Association. It's the largest teachers union in the U.S. Now I don't claim to an expert on teaching associations and it may be that due to your stellar education & experience that you play in a different space. I don't care. Frankly the only reason I've even heard about the NEA is that I have 3 or 4 relatives that are teachers who constantly bitch about how underpaid they are, even though they only work nine months of the year. In any case, I never claimed to be a master of logic, and frankly I couldn't give a sh*t about your critique of my skills.

    6) Have to disagree with you on this one. You are 100% a Misandrist. While I doubt you have self-declared, it pretty clear from your posts. So just "Woman Up" and admit it. It's OK. Declaring that you just have an issue with the Patriarchy is just a way for you and your fellow feminists to frame your misandry so the general public doesn't see you for what you really are. As dull as it appears you think I am please give me at least that much credit.

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  8. Rachel - page 2 0f 2

    7) Please spare me. Maybe you're a bit too close to it or maybe you're yanking my chain. I've been reading your blog for several weeks and the tone and tenor is very consistent. I commented on this particular issue because I know it. Obviously you are a social progressive. You are also a self-proclaimed feminist. I'm fine with that. How you prioritize these views doesn't matter to me. I think it's fair to say that the title of your blog addresses that issue accurately. Please save your academic rationalizations for someone that is buying it.

    So, in closing it doesn't look like your going to take me up on my offer. I'm bummed, but not surprised. You and I both know that if your original post hit the papers in Laramie or wherever you are in Wyoming there would be a Sh*t Storm and you'd be right in the middle of it. You're just not honest enough to embrace this fact in this forum. So I've just helped you on that issue. I made the offer to prove a point…that you're ALL TALK. So don't be popping off on issues like this in the future unless you're prepared to prove that you "Have Balls" as you proclaimed in your original post.

    Another old Western saying…"It Doesn't Matter What You Say, It's What You DO That Counts". Looks to me like all you're prepared to do is talk and when your bluff gets called you don't step up. Might work at a University, but don't take it to the natives that actually work in the real world. I just hope the taxpayers of Wyoming aren't subsidizing your Blogging efforts via the tax system.

    In closing, I'm not sure of the demographic of the "normal" blogger on this site. I'm also not interested in being a pain in the *ss, in general. That said, I think it's important that Whoever is reading this Blog understands what is really going on. By way of background, I've worked in the corporate world for most of the past twenty years. I went to College and I'll pay more in INCOME TAXES this year than your average teacher (including University) will make in salary. I'm not apologizing for or bragging about this. It's a fact and since Ms. Rachel seems comfortable calling out her credentials seems I need to step up. I'm saying this just to make sure you folks don't think I some goofball that delivers pizza and lives with his parents.

    Please, understand that by and large, Academics such as Ms. Rachel consistently have issues with people like me. Partially because they'd like to be making the money (hence book writing) and partially because the fact is that the income tax revenue that people like me generate for the government is exactly what pays the salaries of State University employees. I have to say here that I don't know if she works for the State of Wyoming or not, but trust me when I tell you there aren't a lot of other employers in Wyoming for someone with her educational pedigree. So, she's in a tough spot. Be gracious and have empathy.

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  9. I grew up in Laramie and Torrington. I live here in Laramie now, I have a BS in Geology and work for the water department here in town. I'm a friend of Rachel's and have discussed cowboy culture with her before. In fact, on several occasions we've discussed this at the bar with our larger group of friends, many of whom are from here, 2 are academics, 3 never finished college, and 1 used to compete in rodeos until he was too injured to continue. We've had a few lively discussions on this topic with many disagreements, but nobody was offended by anything Rachel said, here or at the bar.

    As to your view of Wyoming, you seem to think that the people of Wyoming are a monolithic group who all think and feel the exact same things. I'm not sure where you got that impression, but it's dead wrong. There's a lot of diversity here, and many of us love a lively debate that incorporates a range of worldviews and opinions. This kind of discussion is the source of many a well-thought-out blog post, here and on other blogs, and it's one way you pass the long winter months in a town like this.

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  10. Meg'n8/06/2009

    Um, Burn, perhaps you're unfamiliar with blogs, but blogs generally are about TALK. You can't really take action on a blog, because it's a blog.

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  11. @ voiceofreason - Nope. I am not denying that there may have been overt valuing of male Cowboy traits at the expense of others. What I am saying is that the Cowboy Culture, which Rachel seems so eager to denigrate was developed over time, "in real life".

    My frustration is that if people really understand what it took to have a successful life back in "the day", they would understand that both women & men had critically important roles to assure society functioned in a way that worked for everyone with whatever Cowboy Culture existed or didn't. If you read true western history there is plenty of proof of exactly how tough women were and the contribution they made in the west. Just have to look for it.

    At the end of the day this is the argument that feminists continue to put forward...that the fact that people had "different roles" in making sure a community succeeded meant that it was patently unfair. As a successful executive that commonly puts teams of people together for given missions I can tell you that you analyze the operational needs of the team and pick the team members (regardless of sex) that as a group will meet the objective.

    In every relationship the parties to it have different roles. They work out what makes the most sense for them as a community, business or family unit. We aren't the same as each other. All of us have strengths and weaknesses.

    We just need to be fair and balanced in our review of skill sets. In my opinion Misogyny is unbelievably overused by feminists and most guys will run away when they hear it just because they don't want to deal with the brain damage caused by overbearing feminists.

    I guess because I'm a hardheaded Montana guy I'm not running, but I am interested in reasonable levels of dialogue. That said if it isn't balanced and fair I'm out. Seems to me your input has been consistently well thought out. Maybe you actually are the Voice of Reason.

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  12. Burn,

    Given your disdain for education in general, I'm amazed you made it through a program. I described my educational background because you attacked me on that front. And I don't expect you to be an expert in logic, but some basic sound reasoning would be really refreshing. Especially since you take yourself to be disproving other people's arguments.

    The local paper here doesn't generally accept articles like that. They carry mostly AP material with a few articles about local events and local politics.

    I have written a guest column in the campus paper on cowboy culture and the construction of femininity and wrote a letter to the editor when a local broadcaster used some pretty offensive language in reference to one of the female rodeo stars here on campus. Neither of these met with a terrible outcry, although there was some disagreement and discussion following the guest column.

    I doubt there's anything I can say that would change your mind, but it is my habit to ACT as well as TALK. Before I had kids I was heavily involved in a number of causes, and I currently volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and the local soup kitchen.

    And for the record, you clearly indicated in your comments on the earler post that you perceive me as being a liar. Your words, not mine.

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  13. Michael8/06/2009

    "I'm at a bit of a disadvantage here with no way to confirm that you did or didn't share your views with locals. Frankly, I think you're full of it, but that's fine."

    -BurnBrother, here

    Where I come from, saying that a person is "full of it" is the same as calling them a liar.

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  14. @ Mark - Good to hear from a Native. For the record I'm a Bozeman, MT / MSU guy, born and raised. First job out of MSU I ran Billings, Sheridan, Cody, Gillette, Newcastle to the SD border (Deadwood/Lead), including the reservations. So, I've been there, done that. Lot's of good folks in WY.

    I'm not here to poormouth your friend. The facts are what they are. Your taste in friends is your call. Doesn't change my perspective on her Blog.

    I've got to say however that if you and other Wyoming natives actually read the original post from 7/23 and didn't have an issue with it I'd be amazed. Actually I think what happened is that you got together for a beer or several and it came up and you commented. Then she put together the post and it went from there.

    THIS IS IMPORTANT - If you tell me right now that you and your other local buddies actually read and understood her original post and are OK with it then I'm out on this deal. If you guys don't want to step up on this type of thing being Wyoming natives it isn't my job to do it for you being from Montana. I'd be embarrassed for you but it's your life and it's your State.

    Relative to the diversity of Wyoming, based upon 2008 data there are around 530,000 total Wyoming residents. Just for a point of reference I live in Long Beach and the most recent data I can find indicates that we have around 462,000 residents (2000 census). So…it's kinda a big fish, small pond thing, very similar to Montana. Everyone that graduates from a State U. tries to figure out how to stick there and unfortunately there just aren't that many jobs. Good for you that you locked down on one in Wyoming. Point is, being a college grad in Wyoming kind of makes you a celebrity, like a lot of the western states, bright graduates tend to move out in search of jobs or move in following spouses / partners. Point being, I'm thinking that if a bit wider net was cast on this issue we might get a better sample of how a "regular" WY resident would feel about it.

    My original offer still stands, talk to your friend Rachel and have her put that posting up for publication in the local paper. My money is still green. If this is such a reasonable and fair minded position let's see how it goes. I particularly want to reaffirm my offer if several of you Wyoming natives are cool with her post. So let me know.

    Easy solution, just publish the post. The truth will percolate to the surface.

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  15. @ meg'n - You're scaring me. What are you talking about?

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  16. @ Rachel,

    It seems like you have a good friend in Mark, which is cool. Friends Matter. That said, I didn't say I had a disdain for eduction, you said it. However I will sign up for having a HUGE disdain for educational elitists like you. Probably goes back to actually having done productive, profitable, tax paying work since I got out of school.

    Actually it's kinda funny about my university education...3.65. Who would have thought? And that's just because I got lazy and unmotivated in my final quarter, I was carrying a 3.8 something. In any case, scr*w you for your disdain of my success in college. This is even without your Logic Class. Who knows what mountains I could have climbed with your direction?

    So enough Levity. I'm not trying to beat up on you. I'm sure you are a nice person. You're a Mom and whatever else. It's all good.

    You started this, not me. Seems like you already have a relationship with the local publications, so it should be easy for you to get enough space to publish your original blog.

    You know, just because I'm liking you right now how about if we settle for just publishing your original 7/23 post without comments and I stroke you a check for $500? It would be better if I could cut it to a non-profit for tax purposes, but whatever works for you.

    That way we can see if the general Wyoming population actually spends the time to read the paper. I don't know, but it seems like Mark might be OK with it. Seems like I'm being way too reasonable on this, but I'm cool with this approach. What do you think? $500 just for the original post. Much cleaner and easier.

    I don't get where you think I have an issue with your support of social causes. While I think that's great, where did it come from? Please don't misunderstand, I'm not saying you are a bad person, because I don't necessarily think you are. I'm just saying what I said. I'm sure you are too smart to define yourself by your profession in any case.

    While I appreciate that you ACT rather than TALK, I'm not getting how that applies to me. Is there a reason that you don't think I ACT?

    Actually, seems like I'm ACTING right now. But maybe that's just me.

    Finally, I didn't call you a liar, but it certainly was close. That said, someone with your impeccable educational background certainly has been trained to critically evaluate the subjects upon which they write with some reasonable level of due diligence. This said, if you publish and I am proven wrong I'll be happy to apologize to you on this blog and in the paper that you published the original blog. This of course assumes there isn't any goofy stuff going on between you, the locals and the paper. Sound Fair?

    Let me know.

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  17. Burn,

    I've never denied this:

    What I am saying is that the Cowboy Culture, which Rachel seems so eager to denigrate was developed over time, "in real life".

    I also never denied this:

    My frustration is that if people really understand what it took to have a successful life back in "the day", they would understand that both women & men had critically important roles to assure society functioned in a way that worked for everyone with whatever Cowboy Culture existed or didn't. If you read true western history there is plenty of proof of exactly how tough women were and the contribution they made in the west.

    I never said this either:

    that the fact that people had "different roles" in making sure a community succeeded meant that it was patently unfair.

    You continue to fight with these strawmen. I know sometimes it's hard to really hear what someone is saying when you've had bad experiences with others whom you take to be similar to them (I seem to represent ALL feminists to you), and it's a human tendency to impose your expectations of what they'll say over what they're actually saying. And this results in a non-conversation. I never said that cowboy life wasn't real. I said it was most likely very different than the romanticized image of it that we have today. And I said that most of the people who are alive today who imagine themselves to be cowboys aren't, and I explored some of the reasons why they might retreat into this contextless identity. Do you see how this is different from what you're claiming I said?

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  18. WilliamG8/06/2009

    For someone who appreciates WY so much, you sure are condescending. Laramie is full of college grads. And some of us are secure enough in our cultural roots and our masculinity to be able to take a step back from it and give it the critical eye. There's nothing Rachel said, in either of these two posts, that were offensive to me, and that she wouldn't say to me over a beer. I understand that you're offended by what you think she said. But since you seem to be the only one, it might be time to move on.

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  19. Rachel,

    I've been spending too much time screwing around with this, so this is my final post to you on the subject. I didn't say you denied the first two items. I was making a statement in a post to another blogger.

    In closing and as I have stated before, the tone of your posts has been consistently clear. In my opinion your contempt is also pretty clear.

    I'm glad to see you have some local guys you hang with that are on board with your views. As I said, I'm not. That's why I made the offer to you on publishing your original posts. The fact that it looks like you're not interested speaks more to this issue than I can write. Hopefully there are some people around bright enough to understand my point. As they say, it is what it is.

    I've got considerably more "wood to chop" concerning feminism in general, but that will be in another environment.

    In spite of my previously detailed issues with your perspectives, I wish you and your family health and success in the future.

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  20. William - (This is unfortunately going to be multiple pages - 1 of 2)

    Well, it's late and I wasn't going to take the bait, but here goes.

    I'm condescending? Since you say you read and are OK with her posts I'm assuming you are a beer-drinking buddy of Rachel and Mark. If you don't have a problem with Rachel's 7/23 post please and let her know. Let's get it out there. I've never worked so hard trying to give away $500 in my life. I don't get why you folks don't just publish it if you're so proud of the content. Man (or Woman) up.

    Since you're a College Graduate and clearly a Bright Guy I'm sure you understand that a standard feminist tactic is to tell guys that they are not "comfortable in their masculinity" if they ever question the feminist agenda in any material way. Once you buy that program they gotcha Bud. So save your lecture about being comfortable in my masculinity. They OWN you. Try looking at what is actually going on in the world.

    I don't know how far you are into your feminine self, but I suggest you spend some time trying to really understand the feminist movement over the past thirty years. Once you do if you get a chance have a beer with your buddies please and discuss it with them.

    It's pretty well established that radical lesbians were deeply involved in the foundation of feminism. There are plenty of sources out there you should look at, but start with the feminist blog - finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com. This is a good starting place for most things feminist. Just remember who is writing it.

    As Rachel clearly highlighted, I'm not PhD material. That said I've somehow been able to make my way through life. So, I'm actually kind of interested in how movements get started and who started them. Look into people like Valerie Solanas and Mary Daly as a small sampling of the type women that helped launch feminism. There are plenty more out there if you look. To this day feminists have still not been able to reconcile the Lesbian issue as it relates to mainstream feminism. They are aware that the virulent hatred of men that permeated early feminism is a huge issue, but they don't want to alienate their lesbian sisters. This may well be why the Misandry that was clearly evident in early feminism continues to permeate the movement to this day. As you may have seen having issues with the Patriarchy is now "code" for Misandry as used by feminists.

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  21. William (Page 2 of 2)

    I imagine you are aware that there are 300+ Women's Studies Departments throughout our educational system. If you've graduated from college during the past fifteen years you've probably been exposed to this dogma most likely through lower division English requirements or electives. Take a look at the writings of Daphne Patai.

    To get a view of current Men's Rights activities, check these sites - NCFM.org / Mensactivision.org / Misandryreview.com

    Feministing.com - Check this out too. This is where I backed into Rachel's blog. These chicks are pretty cool. Pretty much every Friday they post a video to Youtube telling someone in the evil patriarchy to literally get F*cked. Chick that runs it has a Masters in Women's Studies. She's a gem. They also don't have a problem with letting their posters blog about physically maiming men's "plumbing". Will give you a new perspective on the self proclaimed next generation of feminism.

    I don't know you and I don't care to. Do what you'd like, but if you think feminism is some sort of innocent "humanist" type movement you need to educate yourself and your buddies. We've been put together because we're "nice guys". If you have any male friends or relatives you owe it to them and yourself to check into this. Time to wake up.

    We'll get what we Settle For.

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  22. Yes, Burn. All feminists are lesbians and all lesbians hate men. The entire range of feminist thought is well-represented by Daly and Solanas.

    Please.

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  23. Hey Rachel,

    Since you've been hammering me on my logic throughout what's with your last post? Is your logic taking the day off? I guess it is the weekend…

    Maybe you're just being a smart *ss, which is fine. For the record:

    I didn't say all feminists are lesbians, you did. I said that militant lesbians were deeply involved in early feminism. You and I both know that this is a fact.

    I didn't say that all lesbians hate men, you did. Some certainly do, some don't. As you know numerous early Lesbian Feminist Activists were outspoken on this and of course the evils of the "heteropatriarchy". (that's a real word, can you believe it?)

    What I suggested to your friend William was to check out Solanas and Daly as a "small sampling" of some early feminist thought. I went on to say there were plenty others out there if he were to look. If he gets interested I'm sure you could provide a reading list. Though I doubt Solanas & Daly would have made it.

    I think it is pretty well established that Solanas was a "Crazy (insert your word here). She also wasn't a very good shot with a pistol. In any case that doesn't stop her masterpiece from being an integral part of many Women's Studies programs.

    Mary Daly is a fascinating case. Check out her website MaryDaly.net. Nice Axe! I guess she's hauling it around because she's a "Radical Feminist Pirate", although I don't see an eye patch so I'm not sure. I didn't make up the pirate thing look at her bio?!?!

    It looks like she has THREE PhDs, so she must be really smart. Does this mean she is two times smarter than you? In any case, she was smart enough to get herself fired from Boston College for refusing to allow Dudes in her Women's Studies classes. I could be wrong on this, but it also looks like she plays in the Philosophy space, similar to you.

    Maybe if Mark & William could get a more balanced view of Feminism they will be better informed and your discussions over beer will be more dynamic. To this point society in general has allowed feminists to control the environment and the dialogue. Big mistake. So there is allot of education to do outside of public and private colleges and universities, which have always been and continue to be a "safe haven" for unchallenged feminist dogma.

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  24. Anonymous8/09/2009

    It's called sarcasm, Burn. You implied that all feminists were radical (like Daly and Solanas), and that they're all lesbians and man-haters. Rachel wasn't even grading this bit of nonsense with a full response. Get it?

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  25. Anonymous,

    I think I got that she was working the sarcasm angle; note my comment about her being a smart ass being fine. You seem to have a really good grasp on the obvious.

    In any case, the detail was for the benefit of her buddies Mark & William, who aren't yet "educated feminists" like you girls. My response was accurate.

    I was going to be done with this, but since you so kindly yanked my chain…

    Just received an updated edition of Daphne Patai's "Professing Feminism". Haven't had time to read the entire book yet, but did quickly read the conclusion (pgs 363 to 370).

    This Woman is my hero. Note that she has been working in this space for over twenty years, originally published this book in 1996 and refreshed in 2002. She has impeccable feminist and academic credentials. Ms. Patei HAMMERS Women's Studies programs, the academic environment they have created and its impacts. Also has some very insightful comments concerning "Feminist Pedagogy". Some interesting quotes:

    "The result is frequently a mild (or not so mild) form of brainwashing. Feminist research demands loyalty to an ideological agenda rather than empirical adequacy and logical consistency." (Pg 366) As an academic I imagine Rachel understands the issues with this.

    "Thus by defining itself as the academic arm of the woman's movement Women's Studies gained a great deal of passion and energy but also lost significant intellectual autonomy." (Pg 367)

    When she closes out the Conclusion she states:

    "We think it was never entirely appropriate for an academic program to function as a center for political action" (Pg 370)

    "The worst of what it (Women's Studies) does - its substitution of indoctrination for education, its ideological heavy-handedness, its intolerant prescriptions for how women should live and relate to men, its insistence on "support" and comfort" as what women need and want in academe, and its attack on and dismissals of intellectual standards, "malestream" knowledge, and "Western" epistemology - will come to be recognized as marks of a debased education belonging to a particular historical moment, an education to be deplored and left behind" (Pg 370)

    It was also interesting to me that when I read the reviews on Amazon before buying this book there weren't any with less than four stars. Normally when something negative about feminism is published all of you girls rush out and throw it under the bus. Seems doubtful that feminists in general don't know about the book so the lack of feminist response kind of makes me think Ms. Patai is substantially accurate.

    MARK & WILLIAM - As I note, I have only just now read the Conclusion of this book, but it clearly is going to provide significant background for people that are trying to understand where feminism and Women's Studies are coming from and going to. If you've got some spare change its 25 bucks on Amazon. Rachel or one of her girlfriends might have a copy in their feminist libraries that you can borrow although I'm doubting that it will be high on their respective lists.

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  26. Jesus Burn. I'm not sure why you can't hear what I've already said. I am not in the Women's Studies Department. I am in Philosophy. These are two totally distinct disciplines. I too think there are issues with Women's Studies, but not the ones you cite. And for the record, Feminism is not a synonym for Women's Studies. They are distinct. And Feminism is a very wide and varied topic. There are many different stances and views, and huge disagreements among feminists. Radical feminism is actually in the minority, so I can't imagine why you think all feminists are radical. It's easy (and a lazy approach) to try to dismiss an entire area of study and activism by choosing the most extreme minority among them and attacking them while claiming that everyone in that area is identical to them. Feminism is far from monolithic, just as the category "woman" is not monolithic. We are not all the same. We do not all believe the same things. So your lazy and transparent critique is laughable. Why don't you educate yourself on this topic and then we can talk. For now, I'm done wasting time on you.

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  27. 1 of 2

    I've been preoccupied reading Patai's updated chapters or I would have tossed this back at you earlier. If you think back you'll remember that I actually made a big deal about your Philosophy expertise. I've previously acknowledged that you aren't in Women's Studies. That doesn't make the quotes from Patai invalid as providing a window into what has been going on over the past twenty-five plus years.

    It turns out you may have some sort of Balls after all if you are somehow trying to say that Feminism and Women's Studies are not deeply intertwined at many levels. I didn't say they were synonymous but they are FAR from distinct. That said given Patai's views I can certainly see why you'd want to call them distinct as they are quite damning to both Women's Studies and Feminism. It's interesting that you dismiss any input that is inconvenient to your own views.

    I didn't say all Feminists are radical and I don't know why you keep saying that I did. There certainly are plenty of radical feminists, a fact you appear to acknowledge, so Thank You. I haven't dismissed all feminists and believe me when I tell you that based upon some of the feminist blogs I've seen I understand that Feminists don't agree on every issue. For example, how exceptionally difficult it is for a Feminist to decide if it's OK to wear make up, nail polish and / or skirts if they want to be a "true" sister. Those are some Important Things. I get that you folks aren't close to being on the same page on most important issues in society with one critical exception…That being whenever there is a "bad outcome" for "Women" or even "The World" in general the misogynists & the Patriarchy must be responsible. Near as I can tell that's about the only thing you agree on. Kind of conveniently places you and your sisters in permanent victim mode, which doesn't seem too consistent with your current empowered status in our brave new world. What Gives?

    How about this…A clearly crazy guy in PA kills some women & then himself. Most Dudes think the guy is just crazy. Feminists start the misogynist rant all over again. Or this…An equally (or more) crazy chick kills and eats her baby boy. Most Dudes think the chick is just crazy. Feminists are pretty much certain this had to have been caused by some impact a Dude or the Patriarchy had on her in the past. Makes you go hmmm…See a pattern developing here?

    Or this…Some Philosophy Prof in Wyoming gets pissed off at a local kid driving a pick up like a moron so she goes off on a feminist rant about his penis size and his penis truck. As compared to …I get stuck behind some stupid spoiled chick on the 405 driving her BMW. She's going 45 MPH and texting all the way. Maybe I should blame it on her plumbing OR I could blame it on the fact that she is driving like a moron, just like the kid in Wyoming. Seem Fair?

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  28. 2 of 2

    You certainly sound like a Feminist, particularly an academic, in dismissing my points of view as being lazy. As I've said before, I don't care what you think of me. The dismissal of disagreeable men's views is consistent with the approach of most feminists. You're movement is so used to defining the terms of the argument you think it's your unquestionable right to do so.

    I agree that we're done, with one minor exception. I remain disappointed that you didn't take me up on my offer to pay you to publish your original blog. I continue to believe you are being far too modest. I just read it again and damned if it doesn't suck just as much now as the first time I read it. So…I'm thinking that an email with a PDF of your blog to Wyoming Senators Enzi (who sponsored the successful Bill in 2008) & Barrasso along with Rep Lummis would be effective in getting your message out. We can cc your University President and Department Head just to make sure everyone is in the loop. The folks in Cheyenne that actually sign off on things like university budgets may be interested in how a Temp Lecturer in Philosophy at a state school really feels about Cowboy Culture. Who knows, they may just love it.

    Just to prove I'm not quite as lazy as you think I am don't worry about sending the info yourself. I'll take the initiative. So as long as you're talking about things being laughable, how's that for humor?

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  29. Wow, Burn. Threatening a lady. So very cowboyish of you.

    I teach here in the English department, and know the Philosophy department head well. Trust me, he's not going to be offended or angered by anything she's said here. As to the big guns, Mike Enzi pronounced her "charming" after being seated at the same table with her (and Al Simpson) at a charity dinner held here in town. There was much laughter and witty banter in that conversation, if I remember correctly. So your cute little plans of getting her fired probably won't pan out. Also, she only teaches here part time, and actually makes more money teaching online course through UCLA, UCR, UC Irvine, and CSU Long Beach, so be sure to send all this info to those campuses as well.

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  30. Gee Mr. Rick,

    What a surprise, a fellow professor sticking up for Rachel. Let me be crystal clear for you and whoever else reads this. I didn't threaten anyone. Although you saying I did certainly adds some drama to your blurb. Since you're an English Prof I guess I should have expected something like that.

    Rachel crafted the blog and it's been pretty clear that she's proud of it. That's great! My opinion on it has also been pretty clear from early on as has my suggestion to publish this masterpiece more widely. I'm a bit confused by your statement that I'm trying to get Rachel fired. First of all, I don't have a "cute little plan" to get her fired and again, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't put words in my mouth. Secondly, if this is such a great piece of writing, logic, argument or whatever you want to call it then why in the world would any fair minded person want to fire her for publishing it more widely? Who knows, it may get her fast tracked into a professorship or some other impressive academic future after her pure genius and natural wit become more widely known and appreciated up there in Wyoming. Of course there is a risk that those reading it won't be quite as excited about it as Rachel and friends. I don't know for sure, nor do you. You must admit though, it will be interesting to find out.

    If Rachel has already so fully impressed Enzi and whoever else with her "charm" then this really shouldn't be a big deal, right? I'm sure the Philosophy Dept Head won't have a problem with it. In fact, it will just give an entire gaggle of you folks with advanced degrees a chance to sit down over coffee and discuss how unreasonable and unfair I am being on this deal. Probably the conversation ends with you all agreeing, "over laughter and witty banter", that if there were just more people out in "the world" as bright and / or educated as you elitist goofballs then things would be so much better for everyone.

    I'm not going to the trouble to send it to the Cal State Schools you mention, but feel free to participate in that way if you're feeling energetic.

    As I've said previously on several occasions, the mere fact that she has consistently been unwilling to put it out there speaks volumes about how she believes it would be received. As they say, actions speak louder than words.

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  31. Brioche9/09/2009

    Um, this is a public blog, right? I'm not sure why you keep claiming that she won't "put it out there." This is a public forum, and she hasn't tried to hide her identity. What exactly is it that you're demanding that she do? If the local paper doesn't accept this kind of thing, and it's already been printed in the school paper, what else is she supposed to do to satisfy your demands? Are you suggesting she break into the local newspaper office, take a hostage, and force them to publish it? If not this, then what?

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  32. Um, I'm going to be gracious here and assume that you haven't read this entire string or the related posts from July: "A Letter" on 7/21 and "National Day of the Cowboy" on 7/23. If you have you should be capable of commenting in a meaningful way. In any case if you had read these you would already know a few things including:

    - I offered $1,000 to Rachel if she would publish her blog to the local papers. As far as I know she didn't take me up on that offer. If she actually did it please have someone that has a clue about reality let me know and I'll gladly stroke her a check per my original offer. For the record, I subsequently reduced the offer to $500, with fewer conditions, but she still wasn't taking me up on it, as far as I know.

    - It wasn't printed in the school paper to my knowledge. If so, please advise. I'd love to read it.

    - I'm not making any demands. I made the offer as noted. Rachel didn't take me up on it. I subsequently described unilateral action that I may take. Rachel is an independent, liberated person who in no way has to buy into my program. She clearly hasn't.

    Now that I look at the dates of the original postings it appears what happened is that Ms. Rachel got pissed at the kid driving a pickup on Tuesday and decided to throw the Cowboys Culture in general under the bus a few days later on Thursday. That's fine, but folks should at least step up to it.

    Finally, you may be a good person, but if you're just working Rachel for a grade it would be better to pray for the curve than to post when you have no clue as to what you're talking about.

    Burn
    bHbKbF

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