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.