Defense of Women?

I’ve just tried reading Mencken’s “Defense of Women” and was so disgusted by it, I couldn’t make it through three chapters. That’s the last Mencken book I ever try to read.

He allows for the Freudian view of Shakespeare as a homosexual, offers a crass view of American stupidity, and writing in the mood of Esther Vilar, paints women as ugly, primed, coquettish creatures who beguile men and trap them into marriage.

There is no sex, says Mencken, predicting the “trans-sexual” movement of our own time. There’s only the tyranny of the majority. On point after point Mencken errs as only a bachelor who’s never tasted the love of a woman possibly can.

If women need a defense, it’s against the cynical popishness of Mencken. I’ll be damned if I ever attend another Mencken Conference.

Someone I highly admire suggested I ought to get married and have a passel of children.  “But finding the right woman…ahh, that’s the rub.”  The rub indeed, but what a pleasant rub.

I entered the Navy with the idea of being a heroic Navy SEAL.  I dedicated myself to physical fitness and lived in the gym.  I had a physique men envied and women admired and it’s only owing to my naive fundamentalism (at the time) that I didn’t give in to a young man’s baser passions (despite being encouraged to do so by everyone around me).  I remained chaste and romantic.  But after my dreams of being a warrior met with the realities of American foreign policy (and after the love of my life married another man), I fell off my high horse and followed my friends into a hedonistic pit of alcohol and baser pleasures (although, I like to think I retained my purity, if only through a series of divine and humorous checks).  And, owing to the wear time (and post-military depression) inevitably takes on a man, I lost the zeal for physical fitness and along with it, my desirable physique.

Luckily, though, God gives new and better gifts with the same hand He uses to take the lesser, petty ones, and after a slump of melancholy, I discovered the fairy tale world of old Europe and found, owing to my blood, I have a firm place within it; and in the fairy tale world of old Europe, a man’s physique is less important than a man’s abilities to enforce his will over the evils in the world.

This new love of the good inspires heroism with every pushup and chivalry with ever weight lifted.  And with that, comes the hope (that Mencken can never have) that somewhere, there’s a woman worth fighting for – a romance worthy of the stories.

And that’s worth fighting for – or, at the very least, forging oneself into a weapon for.   My boyish motivations for being a Navy SEAL have given way to the stronger, Godly passion of storybook heroism.  It’s a passion that the likes of Mencken will mock and ridicule me about.

But he knows as little about heroism as he does about women.

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11 Responses to Defense of Women?

  1. Capt. John A. Snyder says:

    Shotgun… Thanx

  2. If there is something solid that can be learnt from Mr Shakespeare it could be the foudational place of Graeco-Roman culture and jurisprudence in Christian society. Notice how there are no “Odin”s, “Thor”s or runes in his writings, but quite a lot of “Jove” and Caesar.

    A.J.P.

  3. “Shotgun”,

    Now you’re giving me the distinct sense that, in the future, I’m going to go sour on your intransigent “come-backs” and you’ll end up scrambling the words in my comments as you did to that other fellow. That’s really the next thing I’m waiting to see at this blog. Well, hope springs eternal…

    Best regards,

    A.J.P.

    • Let me re-state my meaning:

      I’m no Shakespeare scholar but it’s my view that he sees to the depths of human souls, where as Aristotle and Plato, at their best, only saw the world superficially, through the lens of their intellects. Aristotle was the crass empiricist and Plato was so “heavenly minded he was of no Earthly good”.

      Shakespeare is their superior in every way. He baptized and deepened the poetic insights of the Greeks and Romans. If anyone is poised to reject the scholastic poison, it’s Shakespeare.

      • I was referencing the way that the title Caesar had roots in the Graeco-Roman period of antiquity, yet continued for many centuries afterward and even St. Augustine grappled with Jupiter or “Jove” in his book The City of God. Mr Marcus “Tully” Cicero was a pagan, but seemed to contribute a lot and Dionysius of Halicarnassus is the same…

        A.J.P.

      • Bro. Knot says:

        That’s a damn fine insight on the Bard, man.

  4. It could be the right way to see this is that the Vatican pontiff and his followers, during the Renaissance, went Left when they should have gone Right. So then the Reformation happened, but the colonisation of the New World meant that Republicanism would come to rise in the United States and France, as well as any places that would follow these governments.

    But, yes, I certainly do see a value in aspects of ancient Mediterranean cultures, many of those aspects, in fact. Though writings and stories like the Heliand Gospel, which the Faith and Heritage website has covered recently, might be the best kinds of phrasing to enrapture the Anglo-Saxon heart in terms of poetry.

  5. Old Ella says:

    A heartening, appreciated stop by today. May the Lord bring a worthy maid to join your journey.

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