Prefatory note: I post this out of fascination with human nature and a deep appreciation for the humor of it.
Saturday kicked off for me, this week, with my being blocked on Twitter by former Republican East Providence Assistant Mayor Robert Cusack. He posted a map showing the relative balance of men and women around the world, and the conversation went thus:
Cusack: Notice that places where men outnumber women is where all the trouble is?
Katz: I guess if you ignore any of the places that it suits you to ignore.
Cusack: Blocked, for lack of sense of humor!
Katz: What a masculine response.
There are a number of interesting observations one could make with just a glance at the map. For one, Russia — bleeding into the notoriously non-problem-free Caucuses and Ukraine — is dark blue, meaning heavily weighted toward women. Even North Korea is blue, as are other areas of the world that aren’t exactly paradise.
For another, where Cusack’s statement carries with it some truth, there is opportunity for interesting discussion. Much of the man-heavy area is dominated by hard-line strains of Islam, where women exist in terrible subjugation (as do men who resist the hard line). In both India and China, one could branch into discussions of the use of sex-selective abortion to follow strong cultural preferences for male offspring.
And that whole topic could return to the importance of the West’s waning formula for structuring families in a way that binds the two sexes together toward harmonious and productive ends. It’s been fashionable for quite a while, now, to condemn the traditional Judeo-Christian vision for the family, but it does (or did) impede the development of a male underclass with no prospects or investment in their society, which (yes) can lead to trouble.
That’s not a one-sided coin, either. I’d be curious what might come of an analysis of the differing nature of problems in areas with many more females. Maybe totalitarians take a different approach there.
Yet another interesting topic would be whether the cliché about women’s more-peaceful nature is actually true. It certainly doesn’t jibe with my personal experience or with my reading of modern society or of history. These are rich topics that leave much room for insights and friendly humor. Cusack went with the banal and humorless direction of anti-male sexism.
Even just within the same wave of my morning reading, I came across this gem from Northeastern University in Boston, where residential assistants — students tasked with helping young adults along with their college experience — are apparently being instructed that it simply isn’t possible to be oppressed if you’re a straight, white male, even (one supposes) in an environment that sets up kangaroo courts for sexual assault and that have 100% female “offices of equity and diversity.”
Contrary to what Robert Cusack may believe, discussion of these matters doesn’t have to be humorless, if we’re mature. Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t seem inclined to cultivate mature men anymore.