Saturday, April 08, 2006

Are we a matriarchy?

As a Roman Catholic atheist, I know what I know. I read that Islam is a patriarchy; but I don‘t know. When I was a graduate student at Columbia in 1971, Kate Millet’s dissertation was published as Sexual Politics. My advisor John Unterecker told me for drill to apply for a teaching position but, he said, I wouldn’t be hired because Columbia had been ordered by the federal government to hire women. Remember affirmative action? Feminism also made dating difficult. I did teach for a few years but I have found a more free lance and entrepreneurial life.


Blogger Kirby Olson said...

Michael, the term Matriarchy is first brought in by a friend of Nietzsche's named Johannes Bachofen. He was a Swiss jurist who spent his life on a monster tome that you can get in French although it was originally written in German. The original title was Mutterrecht, or Mother Right. He has what is called a unilinear evolutionary theory about marriage that marriage between a man and a woman is the basic way in which we can measure the maturity of a civilization.

He claims that that is the real story of Troy. That while Paris and Helen couldn't get things right, and Agamemnon and wife couldn't come to an understanding that Odysseus and Penelope could, and there's the story.

That true maturity lies there.

Matriarchy he defines as a state run by a male tyrant.

Patriarchy he defines as a rule by principles which he defines as the basis of sky-gods -- he was himself a Presbyterian.

Since Bachofen the terms have been endlessly tinkered with, and changed. Now it has come to mean rule by men is a patriarchy, rule by women is a matriarchy.

But in Bachofen's terms a woman could be the leader of a patriarchy. Someone like Margaret Thatcher -- ruling according to law, order, and principles, would therefore be a patriarch.

And someone like Saddam Hussein would in fact be a matriarch. A matriarch is a tyrant, usually male, who only respects the rule of his own power.

Bachofen specifically argues that Islam is matriarchal. One sign of a matriarchy is that they worship the moon rather than the sun.

The moon is on all the Islamic flags and their calendar is determined by the moon.

The surrealists around Breton were certainly matriarchs. All their important events and writings take place at night.

In a patriarchy the daytime matters more.

It's a good book worth reading which has however been gutted by feminists in its English rendering available from Princeton UP. Bachofen, Mother Right, PUP 1994.

I think men who are strong feminists can still get hired in major English departments. It's a question of what kind of research you are doing. If you are devoted to the cause of women and minorities and your work is a sociological push to raise the ontological status of minoritarian writers, you can get accepted.

Also if you are a strong ecologist.

If you are an apologist for the likes of Corso, forget it.

I mean you can get hired, but not in a major department.

No serious study of this has been done but English department hires have been about 60-40 in favor of women for about 20 or 30 years.

The sad thing is that I think English departments themselves will be the losers as they become departments of political indoctrination. The whole area of the humanities is threatened as the liberal arts have been replaced by Marxist political indoctrination establishments. The private universities will one day wake up and cut them. The public universities will go through a slower process through the legislatures.

What will be left is a purely technical education. We'll see what that means.

Personally, I think it's too late to turn back to an aesthetics. But there's been some weak gestures in that direction. I suspect it's too late.

I wish I understood this whole matter better.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

The heyday of the feminist matriarchal night was punctured by the ray of light provided by John Irving's book The World According to Garp. The witty placement of that book's characters as adjuncts to the sexual revolution (Garp and his wife cheat and pay) but it is the final shooting of Garp by the twisted feminist girl that I think ended the feminist movement. It was fiction, but it was so true.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Michael Andre said...

I would not disagree with your belief, Kirby, that feminists have taken over the American university. I just served a three-year term as a delegate to the MLA Assemby; that was the most obvious change since the 1970s. But I do not know what that portends, whether it's good or bad. Global warming is bad. Does feminism, or gender politics, make global warming more or less likely? I don't know. And global warming is a just an example of a clear evil. I wish I knew. But, if I knew, I'd be God.

2:40 AM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

I don't know either. I don't even know if global warming is bad. It's freezing here in the Catskills and many of us here are cheering the trend, and hoping that we end up as beachfront property.

9:20 AM  
Blogger MOON said...


8:55 AM  

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