Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Men, the Appendix, and My Little Pony

There is a section in Antiartists where one of the characters claims that men are not needed any more, that it used to be that men were needed to club mastodons or fight off marauders, but that those days are past.  He says that a man is like the appendix of women: useless, and if it goes bad it might just kill you.

The book, I think, is mostly about our sense of identity, and how that identity is tangled up in what we believe the world around us expects.  That identity is tied up in our jobs, and our sexuality, our families and our religions.  It often seems that our identity is defined for us, that there is no escaping expectations, no escaping the pressures and forces of our environments.  There are stories, of course, of those that break free from that, that go their own way, that express their identity as they see fit regardless of the consequences, and that is great for them, but I suspect most of us never really get to find out who we think we are outside of those forces and pressures.

I recently, and involuntarily, saw an advertisement for a My Little Pony-themed fleshlight; a men's sex toy based on a child's cartoon.  I am not even positive that it was real or some kind of Photoshop mock up, and was sufficiently creeped out to not investigate further, but it seemed only too plausible.  I could only think about what pathetic, weak creatures men can be, and how this can be expressed in the ugliest ways.  Companies do not make products that there is no market for.  The manufacturers of this product must believe that there is a segment of men whose fantasy is to violate a tiny, make-believe purple horse.  I couldn't help but think of the consumers of this product hating themselves for wanting it, hating themselves for buying it, hating themselves for using it.

I thought, what if there was a product that addressed the needs of men in a way that wasn't appealing to and encouraging the basest, most vile aspect of being male?  What would that look like?
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CyberDomestics, Incorporated has brought to market an anthropomorphic robot said to finally satisfy the fantasies of men, the hidden and taboo things that they are afraid to speak about even with those that they are most intimate with.

The doll is fully articulated, fully poseable and available in virtually any color, shape or size.

It speaks to men, purrs phrases that every man has longed to hear, but have been afraid to request from their partners.

It says, "You are doing a good job."
It says, "I trust you."
It says, "You are doing the right thing."
It says, "I believe in you."
It says, "You are making the right decisions."
It says, "You are valuable."
It says, "I appreciate the sacrifices that you make."

Current demand has exceeded production capabilities, and orders are backlogged for several years.  Do not delay, order today! 

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I have two sons of my own.  What can I say to them about what it means to be a man?  What do I have to offer them except my own fumbling failing mistake-ridden example of manhood?  I do not really know what it means to be a man, and I am supposed to guide these small people in some meaningful way?  I remember leaving the hospital when my first son was born, as they handed me the tiny life that I was now responsible for.  I thought, are you people crazy?  I don't know anything!  I still don't.  But all we can do is to try our best to instill the values that we were taught, or have developed through experience, in the next generation.  My sons are already far more decent and caring people than I will ever be, so there's that.  I wish I could take credit for that, but they seem to have arrived with pre-loaded software. 

If you ever meet a parent that claims to have gotten everything right, they are either a liar or an asshole, or most likely, both.

It takes some genuine and sometimes painful introspection to try and untangle who you are from who you think you should be and from who you believe others think you to be, and from what your actions say about your own self worth. 

Boys: Just try not to hurt yourself or other people as you figure this stuff out, OK?

I don't know anything.

Still writing,

RP

PS: If you are new to the blog, it is mostly about my as yet unpublished book and various trials and failures that happens when you try to get a book published.  I write on this thing only when I think I have something relevant to say which seems to be a couple of times a month.  If you comment on here, I will respond to your comments here.  If you want to get in touch via other methods, I am on Twitter @RDPullins, and I am on Google+, though I use that primarily to exchange pictures with my family.  You can also send me an email at dissent dot within at gmail dot com.  Thanks to my best pal Eric, for the Lolligagger Bump.  Cheers!  RP 


5 comments:

  1. Who you are, is who you are and isn't that the most wonderful thing. You are the only you there is and so right there it makes you special and important. Learn these things early in life so it's not wasted by your doubts and fears.

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    1. Geez... If I didn't have any doubts or fears, what would I write about? I think the important thing is to acknowledge that we are all scared and confused.

      We should be really afraid of those that claim certainty. That is where we get a lack of empathy and the seeds of fascism and fundamentalism. In parenting or politics or writing, or anything else, if you meet someone who claims to know The Truth, just back away slowly and don't make eye contact.

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  2. I believe the most challenging thing for genuinely introspective people to find is the conviction to act on their own mind lest they be seduced by the conviction of others. It seems to me that instilling that kind of confidence would be tough for the parents of a non-asshole child. I wish someone would have explained to me that no one really knows anything; some people just think they do.

    Those who believe they “know” and subscribe to the idea of “a truth” are unburdened by the self doubt and anxiety that plagues mindful folk. Cock-sure idiots speak and act with boundless confidence. That can be seductive, especially for kids who are looking to believe in something.

    I suppose all of that applies to adults as well.

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    1. As for "the truth?" Here's what it might look like if we were actually exposed to it:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo1IwmaUz90

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    2. As a parent, and this happened especially when the boys were babies, it seems that I have run into a lot of people that will happily and unselfconsciously give unsolicited advice and pointers about how to raise them, and what to teach them, without a moments thought that their own kids are complete assholes. I always have thought what the hell do you think that you are doing right? You and your kids are both thoughtless morons, why in the world would you think I would consider your opinion valuable?

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