The indignation of the persecuted hegemon: An illustration

The indignation of the persecuted hegemon: An illustration December 11, 2010

Sometimes you encounter a specimen of something that is such a perfect example that it's difficult to do more than just stand back and gawk, marveling at the sheer purity of the thing itself.

We've discussed here the feigned offendedness of the IndigNation — those who seem addicted to and intoxicated by finding or manufacturing reasons to self-righteously puff themselves up with artificial umbrage.

And we've discussed the bizarre contradictions of the persecuted hegemons — those who claim the privilege that in their view pertains to being a dominant ethnic or sectarian majority while simultaneously posturing as a persecuted and put-upon minority.

The two groups overlap quite a bit, sharing as they do a similar refusal to find reality persuasive and a similar perpetual state of aggrievement.

That overlap is neatly illustrated by this fine example of both things provided by a Mr. Dean Strayer of Newark, Del., who proudly submitted this masterpiece of misplaced offendedness for publication in a letter to the editor:

Why do a majority of people in this country who believe this is the Christmas season, be they Christians or non-Christians, have to be relegated to the back of the bus by the secular humanists and atheists who view the word Christmas as bigoted.

Why has Merry Christmas been replaced by the utterly ridiculous and inane happy holidays in almost all ads and greetings by store employees?

I suppose the next thing the secular humanists and ultra-progressives who pollute America with their repulsive political correctness will want to do is replace Santa Claus with the weight-challenged, not quite young, bringer of items to spoil little humans. Well, not me.

So I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone including the humanists and progressives a very Merry Christmas. And be good, because Santa Claus is coming to town.

Dean Strayer, Newark

It's all right there in all its corrosively delusional glory: the assertion of hegemonic privilege intertwined with the claim of persecution (he's exactly like Rosa Parks!), the puzzling preference for unhappiness, the ability to take extreme offense from the well-wishes of others. It's a remarkable thing.

And it's a sad thing. The sadness of it is qualified somewhat by the harm it does to others, but it remains sad enough that one wishes there was something one could do to help those trapped inside this self-inflicted misery.

"You see," said Aslan. "They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out."
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  • redcrow

    >>>I imagine jokes about referring to, say, Little Women as “him” and Soldier of Fortune Monthly as “her,” which probably says more about our culture’s assumptions about gender than it does about other languages.
    In Russian, “book” is grammatically feminine, but if it’s named after a male character (or uses a grammatically masculine word as its title), I would say: “Where’s ‘Ivanhoe’? I remember I left *him* on the table!”, not “I left *her*…”

  • Own This Idea Cheap

    ‘OTIC, I appreciate the effort you took to type all that up, but you’re still saying “oh it’s okay she’s totally consenting,” just in more words.’
    Um, what part of the idea of the mid-century American social script saying ‘good girls never’ and if they do (unless somehow absolutely blameless, vacating the requirement), need to be punished in the story as explicitly outlined in the guidelines the censors were using, is the problem? Apart from its utter stupidity, of course – such as a legally married couple portraying a legally married couple not sharing a bed because someone might get the wrong idea about, well – whatever it is they were supposed to get the wrong idea about concerning legally married couples.
    I personally find the song stupid because of the elaborate artifice and something even worse than hypocrisy involved in two people (from a deleted section – imagine two men singing it – would the idea of date rape then arise?) simply having sex on a snowy night – it seems like a foreign world to my experience.
    But then, what a lot of people write here seems like a foreign world to me, which is why I read their writing.
    As for social script – the question about what was in the drink is strictly based on alcohol, which at the time the song was written, was not legal to sell in easily a quarter of the U.S. – and if you don’t think the movie/media censors of the era weren’t as respectful of Baptist concerns as everyone else’s, well OK.
    I guess I won’t write about how the U.S. of the mid-1940s didn’t pledge allegiance ‘under god,’ nor have ‘in God we trust’ on its money, and how the social script implemented at roughly the same time network TV was getting its start can be equally seen, particularly with the association of atheist and communist, still reflected in so many indignant Santa worshipping letter writer phrasing – because clearly, writing such a historical view is just another way of justifying date rape in other words.

  • *sigh* The social script which requires girls to be “pure” is still in operation today, OTIC. Please let me know if you’re arguing that because of the existence of this social script, we must assume that a woman who repeatedly says “no” and tries to leave, as per the lyrics, is just playing hard to get. And please let me know if you’re arguing that spiking someone’s drink with alcohol is just fine, even if putting another drug in it isn’t. Because if you’re arguing that, I’d like to stay far away from you.
    And please cut out your bullshit about “thinking no means no is just like pretending there’s a war on Christmas!” If you’re going to be offensive, at least do so coherently.

  • MadGastronomer, whose restaurant is no longer leaking badly

    OTIC, even giving someone alcohol if they don’t want it, and might not metabolize it well or just not know how to handle themself while under its influence, counts as drugging someone. And, again, she keeps saying no, and he keeps fucking pressure her to stay. It is, at a minimum, kind of creepy to us. Defending it makes you seem kind of creepy, in a rape apologist kind of way. You might want to stop digging. You might also want to consider that actual women who actually deal with the actual threat of acquaintance rape, and who spend a fair amount of time thinking and reading and writing about these issues, might have a better idea of what’s icky in these situations than you do.

  • Re ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’: I think people my be reading too much into the line ‘What’s in this drink?’ Because:
    – The song was written a long time before Rohypnol, or before general awareness of Mickey Finns as a form of rape.
    – If you were going to spike someone’s drink, you’d use something they couldn’t detect, hence they wouldn’t ask what was in the drink because they wouldn’t think there was anything unusual about it.
    – The woman keeps joining in with ‘It’s cold outside’, and that’s where the song ends: with her agreeing not to leave, not with her passing out. Drugged drinks don’t work that way.
    – The line ‘What’s in this drink?’ occupies the same structural position as ‘Lend me a comb’, which suggests that both are intended to be seen as spinning out the conversation for the sake of spinning it out rather than serious questions.
    I interpreted it as a question about a cocktail recipe. It’s not the best-written line in the song, but I really don’t think it means what people are assuming it means.
    You could make the case that the song reinforces the ‘No means yes’ myth, or more benignly that in a culture where women are judged more harshly than men for sexuality women are compelled to dissemble their real desires, and I certainly think that Montalban’s body language in the video is threatening, but I think interpreting it as a story of drug rape is reaching.