What a pile of w_nk

I’m sure plenty of others are piling onto this piece of onanism in The Federalist:


Men were made for violence. It’s part of why they were created. To protect the weak. To fight for themselves and for nations. To compete and to win.

Actually – I apologise. Comparing it to mastrubation simply reinforces negative views of a healthy activity that’s good for your prostate*.

It is male myths time and yet another rightwing commentator asserting that men are just naturally a particular way and hence shouldn’t try to be something different…even though if men WERE just pre-determined to be that way, then they couldn’t change anyhow…so the whole basic premise of the argument doesn’t make any sense…but we all knew that anyway because it is just entry number three thousand in rightwing-media-trying-to-enforce-stupid-masuclinity-norms.

Others can talk about the rest of the piece but I just wanted to discuss this nonsense paragraph:

“Do you know why men like football? Why they watch boxing? Why Romans watched the gladiators slaughter each other? Because part of men was made for violence and their instincts draw them to it. We cannot suppress human nature. We cannot half-embrace who and what we are—how God made us, and how we are built.”

Oh! Yes! I think I do KNOW why men watch football! At least I know it must be the same reason that men (or rather SOME men and also some women but more men than women) watch competitive sports. Now that does include American Football and boxing which do both feature really big guys slamming into each other but…also includes these sports:

  • Baseball
  • Cricket
  • Actual football – aka soccer
  • Basketball
  • Golf
  • Tennis

Of those the biggest sport in the world is soccer. It is an athletic, competitve game but unlike the two cherry-picked examples it doesn’t role play violence specifically. Also soccer players, while physically fit are not physically extreme examples of maleness. Cricket may be incomprehensibly popular to non fans** but it is a game that involves a lot of standing around. I’ll just point at frickin’ golf for awhile and say ‘look, golf‘.

On the flipside, the writer of this daft piece won’t have any experience with the sheer scale of women’s competitive sport. Non-Australians won’t be aware of just how enormously huge netball is as a participatory sport in Australia – it’s huge and not a new phenomenon either.

So, ‘why do men like watching competitive sport’ because LOTS of humans of both genders like competitive sport because it is exciting. That probably does have connections with how humans percieve the risk of violent conflict and inter-group rivalries but 1. not all men find it fun and 2. lots of women do find it fun.

The women who find competitive sport fun aren’t being forced into it, they are giving up multiple weekends and spending money on special clothing and equipment not because they are being brain washed by campus feminists. They are doing it because they find it FUN. They find it fun, presumably, for many of the same reasons that men who participate in competitive sport (including as spectators) find it to be fun.

The men who DON’T find competitive sport fun aren’t ’emasculated’ nor are they weak willed. They just don’t enjoy it. I do feel the need to snarky and dismissive about sports because I find that expectation of man=interest in sport annoying because it is so prevelant. However, it is easy to see that it is just a shallow stereotype because it is almost indistinguishable from an ethnic stereotype (a harmless but annoying one) that says ‘English person’=’knowledge & interested in discussing English Premier League football’.

No, I’m not pre-determined to like sport because I’m a ‘man’ anymore than being born in England has made me racially determined to have an opinion on the off-side rule or have a good assessment of the chances of Wigan Athletic*** winning the FA Cup.


*[when you are older: https://www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/news/20090127/masturbation-and-prostate-cancer-risk#1 maybe]

**[I dislike cricket for strong personal reasons]

***[Are they even a Premier League side? Not only do I not know I can’t even be bothered to check Wikipedia to find out.]

71 thoughts on “What a pile of w_nk

  1. I suspect “The women who find competitive sport fun aren’t being forced into it, they are giving up multiple weekends and spending money on special clothing and equipment because they are being brain washed by campus feminists” is the second “are” is a typo, but I love it that way.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, at my university all the biggest football (proper football, i.e. soccer) fans were women to the point that holding a poetry reading or even a staff meeting of the university lit mag on a night when the local team played was impossible. Talking of the university lit mag, we published a lot of football poetry. We even had football themed readings. But it certainly wasn’t the campus feminists who brainwashed all those women into liking football. If anything, they showed up on campus already liking football.


      1. What is interesting is that proper football (for americans soccer) is not only a spectator sport.
        A lot of men and women are playing it.
        Also interesting in school it was the second most played game. (and the most popular)
        The most played game was an american import: Basketball, even less violent.


  2. *. Interesting study.
    **. It took me about ten years to learn to love cricket. I now think that real cricket (test matches) are amongst the most glorious sporting events around.
    ***. No. But they already did win it. Although perhaps you knew that and were trolling****
    ****. In the most interesting sense of the term, meaning provoking people into writing responses to something that really isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things but I guess it stops them from possibly increasing their risk of prostate cancer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The comments over on the Federalist site are adorable. One fella claims that men are genetically programmed to fire guns.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, men must be genetically programmed to use a weapon invented approx. 750 years ago in its very earliest form (which has little to do with today’s version). I mean, I know the people commenting at The Federalist probably don’t believe in evolution anyway, but they also clearly don’t know in what time scales evolution normally occurs.


      1. I agree on the human thing, but I really do think Labrador retrievers have a genetic predisposition toward working with people using guns. I used to live in South America, where people would fire guns in the air on New Year’s Eve, and I witnessed the dogs of a family friend reacting to the noise of the neighbors firing the guns…the Chow-chow would hide shivering in the closet, but the retriever would sit outside looking eagerly in the sky waiting for a duck to fall out of it, despite the fact that his owner never used guns and the dog had never been taken hunting in his life.
        Of course, we don’t breed humans for that sort of predisposition (though one could say that the US is TRYING, but human generations are longer and the US has only been around for 240-odd years and has only really gone insane in the last few decades…)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I get so frustrated with guys that think a penis is what you need to enjoy (American) football. I can appreciate a well-executed tackle or a beautiful arcing pass or the acrobatics of a wide receiver landing his feet inbounds as he catches a ball sailing out of play.

    I’ll admit I don’t get boxing — but there’s lots of guys that don’t get why beating each other to a pulp is a fun game either.

    That said, while baseball is mostly a slow game where people stand around in the field most of the time, there’s moments of violence there too. Just watch any plate collision — and the runner isn’t wearing any sort of padding. (The catcher is, but the catcher sits behind the plate, where there’s not much time to react to baseballs coming in fast.)

    (PS: baseball joke, might apply to cricket. Why is baseball so popular with intellectuals? It’s the only sport slow enough for them to understand.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes that joke definitely applies to cricket too. 🙂 Although they recently invented a cricket variant that is very fast (and, as a result, I find it completely uninteresting but lots of people seem to like it.)

      My personal definition of a “sport” is when a general observer can watch something and recognise without significant prompting what is a “good play”. Most things contested at e.g. the Olympics fall into this category, but I don’t think sailing does, for instance, even though competitive sailors are clearly very skilled. And I don’t think chess qualifies either – I can appreciate a good chess play but I studied the game for years. My dad hasn’t got a clue… But something like darts is clearly a sport under that criteria, even if it doesn’t have much balletic grace. 🙂 I am unsure where boxing comes however – it’s very marginal in that one punch can look very like another even though their effects can be wildly different.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Also ignoring the fact that they wouldn’t have to defend nations and protect the weak if the other men weren’t out there conquering nations and oppressing the weak. Duh?

    My mother was way more into sports than my dad, who actually was out there defending nations (Belgium, France, and South Korea).

    And ancient Roman women liked the gladiators a LOT, both in and out of the arena, and loved the chariot racing.

    I’ve also known plenty of girls who loved doing competitive sports; it’s so good that nowadays they can continue into adulthood with them on a high level.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This seems as good a place as any to note that Beale’s comic coup of getting Chuck Dixon on board has seen Chuck apparently doing a long-time dream project… a PG Wodehouse Jeeves’ comic.

    He sure is showing us, ain’t he?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I love Wodehouse, and particularly dote on a takedown he did of A.A. Milne (who I also appreciate) after Milne took to dragging him for his broadcasts from Nazi territory. Interesting story. I have to wonder whether Dixon’s new publisher will find hidden depths of doctrinaire messaging in Jeeves and Wooster. Indeed, I find myself wondering whether they’ve paid anyone for the rights, skeptic that I am.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Comparisons can be drawn, I think, between Beale and Roderick Spode…. hmm. I wonder if Beale would shut up if we told him we knew all about Eulalie? (Well, I can dream.)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s almost an insult to Spode’s original, Mosley, who had an actual political career, before killing it, and then destroying the corpse.

        And yes, I’m a Wodehouse fan myself. It’s just such a delightfully strange direction for Beale’s ranting against the major comic companies’ to go that one almost gets the feeling he’s being taken for a ride.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s not as if it hasn’t been done already, either…

        One of the sections of The League of Extraordinary Gentleman’s ‘The Black Dossier’ was a Wodehouse bit where a couple of Bertie’s aunts were involved with a Cthulhu-esque cult, and somebody ended up getting his brain removed as part of a sacrifice, but seemed fine afterwards as he’d never really used it anyway. Granted, that was a prose story section within a comic book.

        ‘Code Name: Hunter’ is a furry webcomic that had, as part of a flashback story that’s mid-rewrite at the moment, a couple of characters who were obviously Jeeves and Wooster. One of the major characters who is officially a butler at Buckingham Palace (and unofficially involved as a royal bodyguard via England’s main organization for dealing with magic), and he needed to go off and ask an old friend for advice on a difficult situation; so at one point we see him talking to Jeeves, with Bertie being his usual devil-may-care self off to the side.

        Considering that the first Jeeves story was published in 1915, and ‘Jeeves’ has literally become a slang term for valet or other necessary assistant, I’m sure there are other references I don’t know about.

        As for the Chuck Dixon thing, given how… relentlessly anti-political Bertie seemed to be, I don’t think he’d appreciate being used as part of a blatantly political scheme. (Resigned to it, perhaps.)

        Liked by 1 person

      1. That would match the German pulp hero Butler Parker. Well, sort of, since Butler Parker solved crimes, but he wasn’t a vigilante.


  7. Played poker with a Marine a few nights ago. She was the big winner at the table. I feel so sad for the servicepeople who served under this guy, especially the women. A pathetic, insecure and out of control soldier is a lousy leader and a danger on the battlefield. And our servicepeople of any gender are not mindless cannon fodder, nor is what they do akin to “sports”. (Plus our athletes don’t pursue vapid violence because that tends to mean that they lose the competition; instead they pursue physical achievement.) That this guy is a U.S. legislator is just sad. Luckily, there are better veterans who also have run/are running for office.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Quite often problems like that are self-correcting on a chaotic battlefield. Pity his troops never had the chance to aid Darwin a little.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Good soldiers are intent on guarding against violence, on shutting violence down as quickly as possible to minimize destruction, suffering and the death of their families. They don’t kill or are violent to get off on it, and soldiers who do are problems who endanger missions. Soldiers have to be taught to override an actual biological instinct NOT to kill other humans, and smart armies want them to be able to use judgement, not be beserkers, because that out of control violence causes them atrocities, wasted ammo, losses on the field, etc. In particular, modern soldiers operating sophisticated tech machinery need to be skilled, calm in a crisis, able to quickly assess situations for proper info rather than simply react.

      Right now there are several thousand soldiers from NATO countries stationed in countries like Latvia as deterrent human shields to discourage Russia from invading those countries to seize territory in Europe, since if Russia did and thus killed those soldiers, it would be an act of war on those major NATO countries and they would move against Russia. They are sacrificial lambs keeping a balance of peace, who have to be very careful about their behavior in those countries, not violent carousers. It’s not a “sport”, which is a competition involving physical skills and carefully defined rules.

      This guy is betraying his fellows in the armed forces so that he can make money. And the Federalist of course thinks that’s spiffy as that’s how they make money.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. And here I am still wondering what’s so manly about watching other men chase each other around a field 🙂 Nothing against those kinds of sports or anything; I just find them incredibly tedious to watch and boring to play.

    I always think of myself as quite unathletic but all my life I’ve been doing what I guess you could call “extreme” sports or martial arts (or both). The last few years I’ve been dedicating more and more to climbing. In my youth I was into aggressive inline skating and skateboarding. In between I’ve done various martial arts – wing chun, karate, iaijutsu, haidong gumdo… the common factor seems to be that these are the things that tend to develop helpful, supportive and knowledgeable communities and groups around them.

    Re guns: I fired a real pistol for the very first time just a few weeks ago. It was okay I guess? No switch was flipped in my brain that made me want to go and take up shooting as a hobby or anything though. Swords and, to a lesser extent, bows are more my speed. But then I know plenty of women who *also* enjoy training with those. And women who enjoy firing guns, for that matter.

    Re cricket: is anyone else disappointed that it isn’t played by crickets?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t really understand cricket (or googlies). I mostly know things that aren’t cricket: mean, sneaking things, mostly. Cricket must be pretty much noble and above board, apart from the googlies.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And Grasshoppers* is a Swiss (Real) football team, so things start to get confusing.

        * Beloved by Roger Federer, who plays tennis.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. This is true. I often wonder how the tennis hot shots would do at the sport of kings.

        We should also be careful with “Real” as that’s mainly limited to Spanish football teams and the MLS side in Salt Lake City. “True football” or would that annoy the Australians who seem to use both their hands and feet to play?

        As I said, it’s quite confusing.


      4. Looking forward to this conversation veering into sepak takraw. A true football!

        Where’s ESPN8 when you need it? The Ocho!


    1. For years, I’ve wished I had a good pump-action air rifle. I used to shoot occasionally, with indifferent results. Then after a long absence, I went out with Dad at the ranch and wandered about with a pump-action pellet gun, and blasted away at empty cold cream jars here and there, which he finished off with his bow and arrow, and it was as if I had been practicing the whole time I was away from them. Very enjoyable, and for more than thirty years, I’ve meant to do something about that.

      I specify the pump, because the pellet gun I actually do have wouldn’t impress the jars very much. I was shot with it once, as a mere yout’, and it barely dented the skin.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Follow your bliss my friend! I had a similar moment the first time I cut a target with a sword.


    2. I come from a rural area where target shooting is still a popular sport and I know a lot of women target shooters.


  9. One of my hobbies involves hitting friends (because strangers are just friends we have not yet hit) with sword, axe, spear or arrow, in medieval historical reenactments. It’s all very safe, given the circumstances – the weapons are steel and slightly heavier than historical originals due to having thicker, blunt edges, and only hand and head protection is compulsory – because we train a lot to be able to make attacks that look lethal to the audience, yet land lightly enough to be felt without causing any injury.

    People – men, women, small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri, children, and those not covered by the preceding list – enjoy watching our battles, skirmishes and duels. And while we almost exclusively portray men on the field (because warrior women, while documented in history, were rare) a significant proportion of our warriors are women (in my local group of the national society, a third of the qualified warriors are women).

    We fight competitively, and based on skill displayed, and results in competitions, I couldn’t say any gender or lack thereof is evidently more suited for simulated violence.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My thing is swords (specifically katana) and yeah, the women I train with kick ass. They have great form and their cuts (we cut rolled tatami targets) are no less lethal than anyone else’s. In Japan there’s still something of a tradition of women learning naginata too. I definitely wouldn’t want to go up against someone wielding one of those.


      1. Diane Duane (of Young Wizards and Star Trek fame) used to be quite lethal with the naginata, I understand. I wonder if she still has one tucked away somewhere. Her husband, Peter Morwood, has a lovely collection of swords which he sometimes brings to conventions for talks. I’ve helped him occasionally by putting together a small troupe of beautiful (and trained) assistants to illustrate various weapons and techniques.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Vox has said an unbelievable amount of dumb$#!t, but his recent price about tabletop wargamming is the most unintentionaly saddest things that little man has written.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “It is important to prepare our sons for war. By showing them how to move pieces over hexes. This will make them into men.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, because gaming has always been regarded as the manliest of pastimes, ever more so than kicking or throwing things. Never do the boys who kick and throw things stuff the boys with hex maps into lockers and trash cans.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Lurkertype is right as far as it goes.

      Basically, each ‘end’ consists of the two teams alternating throwing stones down the sheet of ice (from one ‘end’ of the sheet to the other, which is why it’s called an ‘end’). Once the end is done, if there are any rocks in or touching the coloured rings (called ‘the house’), whichever team has the stone closest to the centre scores as many points as they have stones that are closer to the centre than any stone from the opposing team. So only one team ever scores per end, if either team scores at all.

      The last stone is called ‘the hammer’, and being able to throw the last stone is an obvious advantage because nobody else can do anything to it. In order to even the game up a bit, whichever team scored in the last end does not get the hammer in the next end. (The first end can be decided by coin toss, and if nobody scores, then the team who had the hammer the last end keeps it.) This means that a team that has the hammer but has no way of scoring more than one point may just throw the rock clean through the house so they don’t score anything and keep the hammer, in hopes of getting a better chance next end.

      Like a number of other games, the actual rules are fairly simple, but then there’s a whole set of tradition and terminology that has accrued over the years. The ice is deliberately kept a bit rough so that turning rocks will actually ‘curl’ and not go in a straight line, though the quality of the ice will change over the course of the game as it gets worn down through use. Curlers normally wear a pair of shoes where one shoe (the right shoe if you’re right-handed, the left shoe if you’re left-handed) is deliberately very rough to grip on the texture of the ice, while the other shoe is slippery so you can skate on it. The purpose of sweeping is to alter the texture of the ice: hard sweeping will warm and smooth the ice, which results in the stone moving faster and not curling as much. The people who throw first often leave ‘guard’ stones out in front of the house to act as cover, so they can then throw another rock that curls around behind it and is harder to take out, because a stone that moves quickly enough to take another stone out also tends to move too straight to get around guards.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, what she said. I’m actually a big curling fan and watch it obsessively during the Olympics. The women’s world championship is on now.

        You slide big rocks. Other people sweep them. They curl or they don’t. They do billiard kinda things.

        There’s also wheelchair curling, where you shove it with a stick (like shuffleboard) and nobody sweeps, so it’s all down to the throw.

        Also, if you’re hopelessly behind, the correct thing to do is to concede, which is much more respected than continuing to try. And they usually determine who’s closest by eye and call their own fouls. And then you all drink beer.


      2. I’m weird in that I am a Canuck who hasn’t curled (I’ve watched it and understand the principle of it.) I wouldn’t mind giving it a go sometime. But I would want to skip the beer part. is that really compulsory?


      3. Well, I didn’t have the beer part. Then again, I started curling in high school, and haven’t kept up with it as much since.

        My parents were both in a local league back when I was really young, and have ‘Eight-Ender’ awards around somewhere. An eight-ender means all eight of your stones scored in an end, which is incredibly rare, and usually means the other team did multiple things wrong. It also means the other team is probably going to concede.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. And it clearly falls into my definition of “sport” above, in that it’s quite possible to appreciate a good play even if one has exactly zero understanding of how they did it, let alone the possibility that one could do it oneself…


      5. @Lenora: I believe hot chocolate is also available. Possibly one could emulate the famous WWI flying ace and quaff root beer.

        @Jenora: 8! I was incredibly stoked at the end where the US men’s Olympic team got 5 in the most perfect shot ever. If someone scored an 8-ender on me, I’d concede immediately and also concede any future games against them.

        @David: I think this follows your definition https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASPqquFpEFk


  11. The problem with masturbation is it’s no good a preventing the other types of cancer.

    It was still worth it though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think it prevents any type of cancer for ladies. Yet it remains popular.

      But how much must a man do before it can be called a pile? The mind boggles and runs away.

      Liked by 1 person

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