Violence, Part II

Posted: January 18, 2010 in Blogging, Humans, Sports, The Hardline According to Ren, Uncategorized

Not so long ago I did a post on Violence– and how I tend to think humans, most of them anyway- delight in violence.  Of course one can easily object to this if one uses a very narrow and incorrect definition of violence which only includes physical violence.  Many people do that- only consider physical aspects of violence when discussing the subject-especially as it pertains to their own actions – because it allows them to feel better.  However,  it also shows a penchant, at least on this topic, for narrow thinking.  I also tend to believe that humans, most of them anyway- know at heart this is a cop-out and violence goes way beyond the physical.  The basic meaning of violence is simple- that which causes another pain, discomfort, or injury.  The word physical is not a qualifier.

That said, I have (briefly) been participating on a thread at ND’s where I asked her about MMA.  Her response is as follows:

I think MMA is wack all around. I’m not into violence for violence’s sake, and I don’t celebrate every dumb thing women do to emulate men. Feminism isn’t about being just like men, especially when what men are doing is stupid.

It seems like a straight forward enough answer, on the level and simple enough, yes?  However, while I am sure ND thinks that everything she does has a purpose and is done with a reason -thus not done for its own sake- I do in fact believe that she and many of her readers engage in violence- maybe not physical violence- but violence nonetheless.  For instance- while she and others might be speaking out against and critiquing the conditions which lead to things like J.Woww and her sizable implants- in order to do so, they verbally attack J.Woww herself.  She is, specifically, as an example, pointed out, mocked, and insulted because she is an embodiment of what it is these women dislike and find wrong with society.  This sort of behavior is violent- any time a person attacks another person- via words, fists, monetary superiority, weapons or other things that can be wielded over another and cause harm- it is violence.  Pure  and simple.  Is it necessary?  Needed?  Is is unnecessary?  Done merely for the joy and release of doing it?  I do not know.  I tend to think it is done for the joy of doing it because it seems to me it would be possible, perhaps even easy, to attack or critique culture and society without holding up and attacking individual human examples of it.  It could easily be done.  Would it be as “fun”?  As “funny”?  As popular?  Would it bring in other like-minded people to go off on a rant about how much they hate that?  Probably not.  Maybe that makes it necessary.  I cannot really say. 

And perhaps because there is the thought that this sort of violence is done for a reason- it is excused in the mind of ND and some who read her.  Perhaps because it is acceptable targets upon which to inflict this non physical violence, it is okay.  Perhaps there is acceptance, even glee, based on some utilitarian slant,  that pegs this non-physical violence as acceptable.  I do not know.  What I do know is this:  In the last 24 hours on ND’s blog, I’ve seen Trinity (a woman practitioner of BDSM and PWD advocate) told to “fuck off” because of her opinion, and I’ve seen a group of radical feminists take great glee and award the Internet to Miss Andrist for “taking me to task” (“privilege” and all) for being non-aggressively adamant about the fact that stripping is a good work out and asking ND’s opinion on MMA.  Now, true enough, ND herself has told no one to fuck off nor joined in on the “you go girl” foolery, but it is condoned.  It is apparent that there are people who frequent her blog who slather at the opportunity to “best” other women who do not share their views or dare to question their positions.  Does it foster debate?  Yes.  Is it also violence- often times unnecessary?  Yes.  There is no need or meaning behind attempting to verbally slice a woman one does not know screaming about privilege for making a simple, one line point.  There is no need or meaning behind verbally bashing a civil woman who holds different views on BDSM with the phrase “fuck off”.  Such things are said and done in an attempt to upset, harm, or distress those whom they are said to. It is violence- engaged in for the thrill and fun of it- and the whole “oh you go, you told them, yeah! You win the Net teeehehehehe” attitude that follows shows it for exactly what it is:  gleefully engaged in, condoned, and appreciated violence.   Necessary?  I am skeptical.

In fact, all things considered, the blatantly sadistic nature of it actually amuses me.  It is often, right down to the keening laughter, similar to what happens when a lone hyena wanders into the territory of an established hyena pack.

So yes, back to the MMA and ND’s statement on it.  She does not believe in violence for its own sake, nor celebrate every dumb thing women do to be like men (esp jerks).  Hummm.  I would argue people (men and women alike) who are into MMA are not merely there for the violence for its own sake.   They could be there for countless reasons; channeling excess aggression, working out demons, merely to learn how to fight, personal challenge, fitness, the love of competition, or yep, profit.  And the violence is necessary for these things, the violence is in the sport.  I would also argue most women in MMA are not there to “be like men”.   There are very, very few activities that are exclusively the purview of men, or exclusively the purview of women.  To me saying a woman in MMA is trying to be like man is like saying a woman who wants to be an astronaut is trying to be like a man.  Both the MMA woman and the Astronaut woman probably want to be…a fighter or an astronaut.   Man or wanting to be like one probably has very little to do with it, really.  

Which brings me to the part where I always end up shaking my head.  Why yes- culturally, socially, via just about every institution known to the world historically women are not encouraged in any way to be physically aggressive at all.  Men are.  Never mind that all humans- all of them- have aggressive feelings or desires or moments of rage and anger- women have never, ever, been encouraged to express that physically -even in a somewhat controlled environment like contact sports or even violent sports like MMA and the Sweet Science.  So their aggression and anger and other such things comes out -has been conditioned to come out- in other ways…such as verbal violence.  Such as social pack gang up/hazing mentality.  Such as telling a civil dissenter to fuck off or delighting in a perceived verbal hit on an adversary.  It is still violence.  It is still throwing a worded punch and hoping it gains the desired result: pain.  And often, why yes, there will be people standing around cheering the display on.

So yeah, I find it a little odd when people are so against one form of violence, physical, like there is in the MMA, but are fine with other forms.  It seems like the cheap and easy way to go, really.

And yes, sure sure, I sense some of you rolling your eyes… after all, I engage in all kinds of violence, verbal, physical, fantasy, video game, fictional, all the damn time.  True enough…but I’ve never said I was against it or wasn’t into it- in fact- quite the opposite.  I’ve admitted quite plainly that I was more than a few times. No, that makes me better than no one- but in this sort of scenario, I think it might make me more honest and dare I say, even more critically thinking.  Shrug.  I like both telling people who annoy me off and MMA…but I see the violence in both, and in humans themselves, for what it is- necessary and not.

  1. TrinityVA says:

    This post is awesome and I love it and you for making it, as usual.

    (To be fair to Faith, though, I was being cruel to her at the end there. Yeah, I was provoked, but yes, it was mean. I’m not in the least surprised by her telling me to fuck off. My opinion that sexuality is basic to the self hasn’t changed, nor has my opinion that deciding your sexuality has been hopelessly warped is completely unhealthy and fucked the hell up, but yeah, I was mean. For precisely the reasons you articulate here. When you’re riled up enough by someone acting obnoxious, lashing out is fun.)

    • Ren says:

      well, see, you too admit you can be violent in various ways rather than condemning it wholesale yet still engaging in it…I appreciate the honest factor.

      ANd flat out, the whole “OMG THE WORLD is FLAT” ideas that all human sexuality is the same or influenced the same way is maddening.

  2. rootietoot says:

    As I’ve said before, I was raised with the notion that women aren’t physical. Period. I think about the girls I grew up with who were athletic, and they were “suspect”, y’know…might be (lesssbeens!) I’m thinking that this attitude is changing a bit, but the idea that women should sit on their hands and be delicate flowers still exists a little bit, at least here in the SOuth, unless guns are involved and then the women who can handle big guns are to be admired, but then artillery is somehow…kinda…not really Physical, per se, but second hand physical, because you only go huntin with a man and you let him do the heavy lifting.

    As for violence, I like your definition, the whole “sticks and stones” thing really does matter, words hurt and women know that. I avoid women in general, because the ones that have caused the most pain in my life have done it with the simplest words, and it’s been women, not men, without exception. Certain Womyn’s Demographics seem particularly skilled at winklling out a person’s bruised spot and punching it even harder, out of what appears to be pure spite. Shame on them for that.

  3. dead_Vladimir says:

    words can hurt, words can scar, and yes there is emotional and verbal violence. But at the same time I think as a society we’ve gotten a little too sensitive to things of that nature. To me being told to fuck off on an internet post board, well it just doesn’t compare to let’s say a spouse who constantly degrades, verbally abuses their spouse.
    I think sometimes we need to build up an armor more these days.

    • Ren says:

      I’m not disagreeing with you. However there are people who deal far better with a punch to the face than an insult, or take slights from people who know them differently from people who know nothing about them. Whatever the case, people who supposedly have issue with violence should at least “examine” violent acts and behaviors, physical or not, they engage in personally.

      • dead_Vladimir says:

        oh I am not saying it iis polite behavior or even behavior that is condoned. O r that certain people on the itnernets aren’t tremendous hypocrites etc.

  4. Ernest Greene says:

    The opposite of the old sticks and stones paradigm is that while these things can break your bones and words can’t, nevertheless, words can break your heart, particularlhy when they’re clearly intended to do so, repeated and echoed endlessly, and come from those who habitually criticize the cruetly of others.

    It’s also easier in some respects to defend against a physical attack. No one expects the object of that kind of aggression to sit still for it, pay heed to whatever message it may be meant to deliver or grant consideration to the past experiences of the attacker. The right to physical self-defense is pretty well-recognized just about everywhere.

    But in “political” exchanges with those who “disagree,” some of us are clearly expected to accept these “critiques” as somehow exempt from the normal right to self-defense, and if we instead choose to return fire merely open ourselves up to further accusations meant to depict us as either mindlessly hostile or spinelessly self-pitying.

    In short, when it comes to physical combat, there can be, as Von Clausewitz says, “a decision by force of arms.” In the schooyard contest of verbal tit-for-tat, the exchange is open-ended and no resolution is ever reached.

  5. Roy Kay says:

    The idea of “words can never hurt me” is that you don’t trade blows for words.

    OTOH, if they swallow their tongue you’re not all that obligated to pry it out of their throat.

    What I have noticed, however, is a lot of manipulation about words. One sides insults the other, then claims the other has created an “offensive and hostile environment” when they respond in kind – or even in self defense. It’s also not unusual to have one person accuse another of doing something, while doing exactly the same themselves. The latest craze of “privilege” is a great case in point. It’s a nice privilege to be able to accuse others of being privileged – and then get all high dudgeon when called on it.

  6. rootietoot says:

    then there’s my favorite “oh bless your heart.”
    the implications of that, they’re legion.

    • antiprincess says:

      I shouldn’t get mixed up in all this. but this business for some crazy reason stood out for me, even through all the rest of it:

      But hey, for all their faults, American rednecks — well, hillbillies — can be occasionally awesome.

      yer heart, bless it.

  7. Jill Brenneman says:

    The worst emotional violence perpetrated against me in my adult life was done by radical feminists. Without question.

    Yeah that’s you Nikki Craft, Melissa Farley, some others.

  8. lissy says:

    Thank you Ren for once again articulating just what f**ks me off about some places on the interwebs… and for braving comment threads that I can’t even look at.

  9. […] Renegade Evolution has a piece about violence today. One of the ideas was that not all violence is physical, that verbal abuse can hurt just as bad. Violence is as old as mankind. It can be argued that progressing from fighting with fists to fighting with words is a civilizing step. While a world of harmony and cooperation may be a cool thought, in reality it will not happen for a long time. American society is violent. The land was secured through violence, and the power of government is held by force. The dominant religion of America is Jesus Worship. Verbal abuse is a sacrament of the Jesus Worship church. The pictures are from “Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. […]

  10. James says:

    Hobsbawm’s written some stuff worth reading on violence. He critiques the contemporary understanding of that word a a reductionist neologism, & I reckon he’s correct.

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