This afternoon I was reading a quote from a woman who had left a comment on Tim Blair’s weblog. She wrote:
rld, I feel it’s my duty as a woman to wear clingier clothing, flirt more outrageously, have more orgasms, and get on top more often. In short, anything that’s taboo to the islamofascists.”
Boo-yah, sister! This struck me as a wonderful example of what computer hackers and science-fiction fans call a `ha ha only serious’, which is just the the opposite of a `ha ha only kidding’. It’s a wonderfully multi-leveled utterance.
Generally when people start out with “As an X, I feel it’s my duty” one expects the followthrough to be some ennobling exhortation to self-sacrifice and a stiff upper lip. The sheer cheekiness of following instead with “gonna get laid more” is wonderful — I can imagine the sister, with a gleam in her eye and a curl of her lip, daring anybody to call her on it, and daring anybody not to notice that she is one hot chick who knows exactly how to use what she’s got.
An idiot, or a conservative of the ramrod-up-the-ass school, would stop there, take her rhetorical flip-the-bird at islamofascists as more than an excuse for narcissism-tinged self-display or a thin bit of patter, and perhaps splutter with jowly indignation. Me, I got respect for this sister. I think she meant every word she said and was being wicked smart.
The true mindfucking beauty of this quote only becomes apparent when you hold both meanings (the sexual self-display and the the anti-islamofascist flip-the-bird) in your mind at once, and allow each to play off the other in a spirit of intentional irony. Our sister has uttered the perfect sexual battle cry for the islamofascists’ occidentalist nightmare — and I think she knows it.
Since 9/11 it has become easier to notice that Islamic fear and hatred of the West (and of America as its political and cultural hyperpower) is rooted in a hostility to all the freedoms and self-indulgences of urban western civilization — commerce, mixed populations, artistic freedom, sexual license, scientific pursuits, leisure, personal safety, wealth. Indeed, one of the circumstances that justifies the term “islamofascism” is that this catalog of resentments is exactly that of classical fascism. And the icon of subversive modernity, to all fascists everywhere, has been the Jew — rootless, cosmopolitan, urbane, commercial, and (in anti-Semitic propaganda) sexual seducer of the pure.
Two perceptive commentators (op. cit.) have written “Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Hitler, Japanese agrarian fascists, and of course Islamists all extolled the simple life of the pious peasant, pure at heart, uncorrupted by city pleasures, used to hard work and self-denial, tied to the soil, and obedient to authority. Behind the idyll of rural simplicity lies the desire to control masses of people, but also an old religious rage, which goes back at least as far as the ancient superpower Babylon.”
By saying “fuck me”, the sister is saying a big “fuck you” to all that. She is choosing to embody the whore of Babylon for reasons that mingle her own desire with deliberate defiance of the bearded patriarchs and their stormtroopers. She is acting out the culture war as sexual politics. She is not merely a hedonist or a rebel (though either would be bad enough) but an ultimately enraging combination of the two, conscious blasphemy written with the body under those clinging clothes.
In the fevered mind of any islamofascist, the sister is certainly urban and probably Jewish. In fact, we are all Jews now, every one of us in the West. This is what lies behind the standard-issue Arab-world mutterings about U.S. policy being controlled by Jews and Israelis, and the tremendous wave of pro-Jewish, pro-Israeli solidarity in the U.S. after 9/11. The alliance both we and the Islamists are sensing is more than geopolitical; it’s founded in everybody’s gut-level understanding that rage against the Jews and rage against modernity have become effectively synonymous.
Yes, we’re all Jews now, even blue-eyed Germano-Celtic goyim like me. We are going to be everything the islamofascists fear and hate, and we’re going to glory in it. We’re going to embody all the worst nightmares of those butt-ignorant ragheads in Al-Qaeda. We’re going to kill them, we’re going to subvert their children with MTV, and we’re going to teach their women to wear clingy clothing and say “fuck me” and “fuck you” to men whenever they damn well feel like it.
And, sister? Here’s my ha ha only serious, offered in the same spirit as yours. You are a warrior. I salute you. And if you want to commit exactly the kind of scandalous, adulterous, hedonistic, casual sex best calculated to drive fascists and patriarchs up a wall sometime, I’m your guy. You can be on top.