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Archive for September 9th, 2010

Recent posts on topics like the Catholic church and a suspected tendency for men to go feral when women are out of the mix have spawned some interesting and wide-ranging conversations coming my way.

Men being the focus of discussion, we begin slowly today, and with the small issue of infidelity, a hobby women have been known to pursue, as well.

I conducted an informal poll a while back that asked, of men, the question:

If you had a chance to nail a hot babe, and if your partner … with whom you are in a good and committed relationship … was very unlikely to find out about it, would you?

Sorry to say, not one man gave an emphatic no. Some did hesitate, but upon investigation the reticence seemed to have more to do with “how unlikely” than anything else. (Women, by the way, when asked the same question, answered with a unanimous “NO”, followed by: Why in hell would I do something that stupid?)

Maybe it’s only sleazeballs in my world? Maybe. But the following ad seems to indicate differently …

Moving right along …

War. Slavery. Abuse.

USC researcher Leo Braudy’s book “From Chivalry to Terrorism: War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity” is reported to address some of the issues under discussion:

At its core, “From Chivalry to Terrorism” deals with the metamorphosis of masculinity through the ages.

“I don’t believe all men are destined to be macho or that manliness is unchanging and absolute,” said Braudy, who has written 10 other books. “So many socio-biological arguments are fatalistic: ‘Men have testosterone, so war will always happen.’ I’m very dubious about the claim that all masculinity is the same, either across history or in a particular era.”

His reflections on chivalry started with an assortment of essays encompassing Braudy’s variety of interests: a long review of several books on Custer; an article comparing a pair of 17th-century poems on premature ejaculation; an essay on Method acting as a metaphor for the 1950s.

17th Century poems on premature ejaculation? Hm. Something like this, perhaps:

Although I muchly love to thrust
I cannot keep my wood, so trust
thee, my dear, to understand
If not, I’ll simply use mine hand

Sorry. Not 17th Century, but five minutes ago, and I digress …

I, too, am dubious about claims that all men are the same, but that’s not the question being asked so often right now.

In attempts to understand the state of the world, the topic of how much of the bad shit that happens daily can be chalked up to testosterone and its effects does come up. There is evidence that reducing the juice has profound impact on aggression in sex offenders:

Attempts to reduce aggression and sexual predation in male sex offenders have included surgical castration and chemical castration (the use of female hormones to suppress testosterone levels). Studies suggest that either approach can be effective; a 1989 German study by Wille and Beier, for instance, compared 99 surgically castrated sex offenders and 35 non-castrated sex offenders about a decade after their release from prison, and found that the recidivism rate of castrated offenders was 3%, while the rate for non-castrated offenders was 46%.

Interesting enough information to have a dear friend, a decade-long voluntary and happy celibate, a woman, suggest an experiment that, on the surface at least, seems to make good sense. It goes like this: Since clerical celibacy — a discipline, not a doctrine, by the way — is very apparently problematic and results in the victimization of children and no little conflict in the minds and nether regions of the guys in dresses — would it not make sense to have catholic priests the world over step up for chemical castration … just to see how it works out? Thinking, “What harm could it do?”, she follows with speculation on the richness of such a vast database and the potential to avert a load of damage to innocents, adding: What the heck do these guys need full nuts for, anyway?

The thought is not without precedent, since some places have made chemical castration a consequence of assault, although after the fact and conviction, not in anticipation of.

When it comes to war and all, it’s not only the hormone-driven territorial imperative, but the desire for money, for power, for control … oh! wait! … Are those guy things?

As a general pattern of behavior, in territorial species the competition between males which we formerly believed was one for the possession of females is in truth for possession of property.

Man … is as much a territorial animal as is a mockingbird singing in the clear California night. We act as we do for reasons of our evolutionary past, not our cultural present, and our behavior is as much a mark of our species as is the shape of a human thigh bone or the configuration of nerves in a corner of the human brain. If we defend the title to our land or the sovereignty of our country, we do it for reasons no different, no less innate, no less ineradicable, than do lower animals. The dog barking at you from behind his master’s fence acts for a motive indistinguishable from that of his master when the fence was built.

To be continued …

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