Today’s Dish

Yesterday, I wrote a post about violence against women and then had to leave a few minutes later to pick up a friend. I referenced a book by Raine Eslier from the 1970’s called the Chalice and the Blade, and I just want to make one thing clear. Just because I sometimes mention a book on here and say I like it doesn’t mean I agree with absolutely everything that book says. Obviously I’ve read some more recent books that contradict some of the things that were known when that book was written. The same can be said for blogs or authors I might link to or have on my blog roll.

For example, I read Sarah Palin’s autobiography, Going Rogue and I thought it was a good book, but obviously I didn’t agree with everything in it, seeing as how I’m a liberal (hence the name Liberal Rapture.)

Furthermore, I’m not a red tent feminist. I don’t believe that women are superior to men and that things would be better if only women ran things. I mentioned the Minoan empire because their civilization was egalitarian. In other words, classless.

I know its hard to take me seriously sometimes, but I’m not going to withhold my opinion about something just because it might offend somebody or they don’t agree. If you’d like to dispute something I say, that’s fine, I like a good debate and echo chambers are so boring. But I just want to be clear: name calling is grounds for me banning you.

So here’s today’s dish:

Sarah Palin is back in the news.

Palin Says Democrats Are ‘Running Out of Time’

She mocked Obama’s supporters: “How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for you?” she asked. And she savaged the whole Democratic program: “The only place the left hasn’t placed the blame is on their agenda,” she said. “So, some advice for our friends on that side of the aisle: that’s where you gotta look because that’s what got you into this mess.”

But the belle of the ball who commanded a $100,000 speaking fee at the pricey, for-profit Nashville affair, didn’t lay off Republicans either.

At several points, Palin leveled clear warnings against the very same GOP old guard that plucked her from obscurity, pledging to back rebel candidates in Republican primaries.

Fauxgressives appear to be upset because Sarah Palin had crib notes on her hand. Whoa! Crib notes! Scandalous! They didn’t seem to be all that upset when, President Obama, our beloved leader, used a teleprompter to talk to a group of sixth graders.

Also, um, that Super Bowl thingy is supposed to be tonight. If you’re like me, and you don’t give a shit about football but you have a super bowl party to go to, here are some useful tips about, um, football type stuff.

1. This Year’s Match Up

First and most importantly, you have to know which teams are playing, and a few tidbits about them never hurts either. This year’s game is between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints. Both were the last undefeated teams in their conference during the regular season, with the Colts only losing two of their 16 games and the Saints losing three. Just drop that little gem into conversation and the guy you’ve been crushing on will sit up and take notice! […]

For today’s Billary news, the Big Dawg Tells us how we can help out in Haiti.

More than three weeks after the earthquake, the relief efforts in Haiti are being rapidly increased to meet the staggering needs, but the long road to recovery has just begun. […]

Have a good Super Bowl Sunday, and get drunk! You deserve it!

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12 Responses

  1. Sarah’s book is “Going Rogue”

    Some PDS types wrote “Going Rouge”

  2. Geez, am I off my game or something, myiq? In my own defense I was talking to my friend the whole time I was writing that post.

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever had a post that didn’t have a typo or two when I first posted it.

  4. BTW – I added this place to the TC blogroll

  5. LittleIsis,

    Big (((hug)))! I hope your studies are going good and you should ask the klown on how you can place the books on the side for clicks to amazon or some other sellers of books.

    Your post on the ill treatment and dehumanization of women around the world brought tears to my eyes, but I cheer up seeing young spunky women such as you willing to speak truth to power. 🙂

    WV

  6. aw, thanks Woman Voter!
    Oh, and thanks for adding me to the blog roll myiq :p I fixed that typo you mentioned. I always end up having to go back and fix shit after I post something for the first time.

  7. Heck, I find typos DAYS after posting, so no worries. I’ve added you to my blogroll as well!

  8. littleisis,

    I come here not to pick a fight, rather to express my appreciation for the above elaboration of your position, in response to my comment at http://www.johnwsmart.com.

    It pleases me to read that you “don’t believe that women are superior to men and that things would be better if only women ran things”, and that, like me, you aspire to a society where men & women share equally in power and influence.

    If I may, I’d like to briefly explain why your citation of Eisler’s “the Chalice and the Blade” — which I have read from cover to cover — elicited such a strong, negative response from me:

    * Eisler has no training or practical experience in archeology or ancient history;

    * Her conclusions were based entirely on interpreting photos taken by others;

    * Her “chalice v. blade” concept, invented by herself in collaboration with the radical feminist archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, is not accepted by a single other researcher, male or female;

    * Her elaborate, detail-rich descriptions of ancient, “gender-holistic” societies, particularly Minoan Crete, were based on no concrete archeological evidence whatsoever, and are in fact refuted by the available evidence.

    Also, I have frequently encountered anti-male feminists who have referred to Eisler’s work to prove the inherently violent and inferior nature of men. I am glad to learn that you do not share those antagonistic views.

    Your laudable effort to reverse the apathy shown to the many horrific crimes committed against women around the world can only be undermined by relying on the pseudo-scientific books you cited. To base a solution on Eisler’s erroneous interpretation of human nature would ensure failure. However, so long as the fight is against the individuals or the particular cultural institutions that perpetrate those crimes, and not against an entire gender, you may consider me your ally in that fight.

    It is not my intention to instigate or prolong a dispute which would discomfit you or your readership. I would, however, welcome a civil, if intense, debate on this subject, at any suitable venue.

  9. Well at least you’re giving me a chance Tamerlane :p I actually read The Chalice and the Blade about six months ago, and it was written way back in the 1970s, so of course I took most of it with a grain of salt. I knew that a lot of the archeological information she cited was wrong, because I actually have read more recent books on this particular subject. I’m certainly not on board with anyone who would use what she wrote about “The Partnership Model” way back then as a referendum on the supposed inferiority of men. I might make the occasional joke about straight men, but of course everyone knows not to take me seriously when I do that.

    A better book I mentioned in that post, which I doubt you’ve read, is called In Search of the Lost Feminine: Decoding the Myths that Radically Reshaped Civilization by Craig S. Barnes, is more in line with my actual philosophy on human nature, gender equality, and prehistory. And it was written in 2007 so the evidence he cited to back up his thesis was much more accurate. I would recommend it, because you would probably find it less antagonistic. (You’ve obviously had a bad experience with Eisler’s stuff, so on one level I can understand your apathy.) He also does paint a more accurate picture of Minoan civilization, which of course wasn’t perfect or flowery in the way Eslier described it, but was actually egalitarian and beautiful in a way. Though of course that doesn’t mean we should try to replicate it or go back to it.

    The reason I mentioned The Chalice and the Blade had less to do with me believing its actually a legitimate source of archeology and more to do with what Eslier proposed as her thesis, “The Partnership Model.” I don’t know why anyone would use her book as some kind of example to you about how women are superior to men, not only because that isn’t what I understood the book to be saying, but because that doesn’t seem like feminism to me anyway. Feminism is the belief that men and women should be equal in every way, not that either one is superior to the other. That’s just silly.

    Also, I do happen to have a higher opinion of human nature than most folks. I don’t believe that people are by nature violent or cruel or warlike, but that’s something I don’t expect a lot of other people to agree with, and of course they aren’t obligated to agree with me about that.

    Oh, and for the record, I did respond to you on johnwsmart because I didn’t want my readership driven away, and it sort of hurt my feelings that you were willing to write me off completely over one paragraph I wrote in a post about something extremely important. But obviously if I’m blogging about something controversial I should expect my feelings to be hurt once in a while.

    Also, when I write posts like that I also post them on The Confluence. And some people on TC also don’t like Raine Eslier. I just, in general, needed to clear the air.

  10. I will certainly give The Lost Feminine a read if I can track it down. I must admit that I am already wary of it, as Barnes is an attorney by trade, with no expertise in history or archeology. (And Merlin Stone is a sculptor).

    The entire premise that docile, matrilineal societies ever existed is highly suspect. Definitive evidence is entirely lacking. Indeed, archeology, and anthropological studies of modern or recent neolithic societies (Yanomano, American Indian, New Guinea, Polynesian) point to very early origins for male-dominated societies permeated with ritualized conflict over competition for women, and often excessive brutality to individuals, primarily other males.

    It is widely believed that social structures first coalesced around the bonded mating pair and paternity when hominid females stop exhibiting signs of estrus millions of years ago.

    Those bronze-age civilizations which exhibited minimal warlike tendencies are marked by their agricultural prosperity coupled with a lack of outside enemies due either to geographic isolation (Egypt, Crete) and/or to a centralized, patriarchal government (Indus, Mayans, Sumer, China) – which had been established through military conquest. When external enemies threatened, these societies all became more bellicose.

    That the concept of Time was well established in neolithic times is evidenced by sites such as Stonehenge and Newgrange.

    Writing, numbers, and elaborate calendars, which supposedly undermined egalitarian society, were developed by those “peaceful” agricultural societies — Egypt, Sumer, Mayans, China.

    When the entirety of evidence is considered, no pattern emerges to suggest a correlation between a society’s aggressiveness and its purported gender egalitarianism. A civilization’s bellicosity is not dependent on whether it worships goddesses, rather on the presence or absence of hostile neighbors.

    Ultimately, the argument for establishing a modern, gender-equal society can stand on its own merits, and needs no bolstering with spurious ancient examples.

  11. Yes, it can be based on its own merits, but what is that quote? “A person who doesn’t know his past doesn’t have a future.” But as I said, I am not in any way implying that we should go back or try to over idealize something that is long gone.

    I am of the opinion that most people don’t think change can happen because they all ready have such a low opinion of human nature- if its all ready broken, why fight to fix it? Call me an optimist or perhaps even unrealistic, but just look at the bible. No one is arguing that its patriarchal, and it not only repeatedly describes how desolate and unsavory human beings are, it is also the worlds number one best seller. And I don’t care what anyone says, people are affected by what they read and hear.

    Merlin Stone’s book is also fairly old, but its different than The Chalice and the Blade in that it doesn’t describe those early matrilineal societies as idealistic. Many of them were oppressive towards males and occasionally violent, in other words dominant, and they existed prior to more peaceful civilizations like the minoan empire.

    Also, paintings suggest that Minoans did have ships- but they didn’t invade any other countries, despite the fact that they had the resources to do so. They should be given more credit, IMHO.

    I, of course, would never make the suggestion that a society might be more inclined to be peaceful if it worships Goddesses. But the presence of some kind of female deity that isn’t a virgin or a warrior or an angry wife seems to make them more gender equal.

    I also don’t subscribe to the belief that writing, numbers, ect. undermines egalitarianism or peace. That’s silly.

    As for Craig Barnes, he spent years researching artifacts that were, I think, only very recently discovered. And prior to that he spent many years researching prehistory because of a case that was relevant to it that he had to argue in court as a trial lawyer. Again, I would highly recommend his book- it would be easier to understand where I’m coming from.

    You’re right that there is no concrete way to prove that human beings are not violent by nature, especially with the limited resources we have concerning prehistory. We can only look at the evidence we do have and try to draw conclusions based on that. But if we can’t agree on this, we can at least both agree on working towards modern gender equal societies.

  12. I think we have the potential for violence, and the potential for kindness and cooperation. We have to make the choice, and set up societies that promote the latter.

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