These things come in waves, of course. Every so often, when my adversaries think that what I am teaching is getting a little too much traction, they make yet another attempt at convincing some that I am a scapegrace, and convincing the rest of us that the left still can’t meme. We know, we know.
You know those commercials, usually involving kitchenware of some sort, where the exasperated protagonist is about to die? Because the eggs are sticking to the pan? And a talented cinematographer portrays how serious it all is with dark filters, and jagged edges, and camera angles?
I periodically get that kind of treatment. A scary quote, defined as something out of sentiment with Approved Thought, is extracted from somewhere, and placed on a black and white portrait of me rendered electronically into a somber drawing. I’d show you one, but I don’t want to frighten anybody, and especially not the horses.
Apologia Pro Vita Sua
You didn’t want me to go into the slavery thing again, did you? Didn’t think so. Or to defend my conviction that when the Westminster Confession lauded a living faith they were not veering into works righteousness? Didn’t think that either. How about whether or not I should recant my conviction that Black Lives Matter is just a commie organization in a darker iteration? No, that one has been done to death also.
But there is one thing that I have not explained in any great detail, and that is my periodic use of satiric bite when it comes to the clothes that some women almost have on. I have indeed answered some particular objections here and there, but I have not yet explained the larger issues of strategery involved. So it is time.
Below I will just touch on the former, and become a bit more expansive with the latter. In other words, I will briefly review what I have covered before, and then—students—we will get into some new material. And don’t sit there looking like a Latin class that was just informed that we were going to go deep in our coverage of the subjunctive. This is going to be nothing at all like that.
There are four kinds of speech that the Scriptures forbid. There is swearing (Jas. 5:12; Mark 14:71), there is cursing (Rom. 3:14), there is obscenity (Eph. 5:3), and there is vulgarity (Eph. 5:4). This might seem to clinch the point that there is in fact a list of prohibited words in Heaven’s library somewhere, and that those who use such expressions are necessarily guilty of tacky talk. The problem with this simplistic take is that there are also righteous scriptural examples in each of these four categories. We see righteous swearing (Deut. 6:13; 10:20), we see righteous cursing (Gal. 1:8; ), we see righteous obscenity (Ezek. 23:20), and we see righteous vulgarity (Phil. 3:7). Now what? It appears that wisdom is not something that can be calculated from a checklist. Shall I praise you for this checklist mentality? Wisdom is pursuing you, friend, but you are fleet of foot.
So if I use a word or phrase in order to shock and bring the ungodly up short, it will not be any kind of riposte for the ungodly to respond with a shocked face. If you are interested in studying this further—and why wouldn’t you be?—there is more here.
The Judgment With Which Ye Judge
One of the weirder things about these quote memes that float around is that nobody appears to see the massive self-own that they represent. The IndigniLadies— let us call them—who circulate these memes are trying to tell the world that a Christian minister like me has no business using the kind of language that they have just helpfully circulated to a broader audience, feeling burdened as they were to share it with a gawking public. When I explain that I do not use language in the way that they are claiming, but rather that I use it to attack the culture of degradation and corruption that celebrates such things, they sniff and reply that it “doesn’t matter.” It is simply not appropriate, they say, to use language like that, even if you are attacking what you claim is bad behavior.
Okay. I see. So why is it okay for them to use language like that in order to attack my “bad behavior?”
What They’re Actually Mad About
Okay, here is where I will begin explaining the play I am running. If anyone is concerned that I am giving too much away to my foes, I have become convinced that explaining things of this nature will actually give nothing away. I think we are officially into derangement syndrome territory. And when we have gotten to that point, explanations from the target (me) actually affect nothing, one way or the other—no matter how detailed those explanations might be.
So this is what I am doing. I have said many times that the battle of our era is a battle for editorial control of the dictionary. This includes what words mean, how words may be used, and how they may not be used. Of particular note is which words cannot be used by certain classes of people. They not only claim authority over the dictionary, but they are seeking to use that authority in order to set up and maintain a lexical apartheid regime. You people must speak in this way, and those people over there may speak in another way. This reveals what they are after in their control of the dictionary, which is simply power over our lives. They are lexical tyrants, which is another way of saying that they are simply tyrants. He who controls language controls people.
Say you pull up behind a vehicle at a stop light, and you notice that the car ahead of you is pulsating to a repeated bass line thumping hard, and accentuated on top by repeated uses of the n-word. Notice what I did there? I said n-word, and I did that because I am white, and I don’t want to get keelhauled, at least not until after I have made my point.
So you pull up next to that car, and you see that the driver is some chump of a white guy, bouncing in his seat and rapping along with the song, wishing earnestly that he had been raised in the hood instead of in that swank gated community. This set up, my friend, is a bit of negligence that is going to get him fired later on today, when someone at work notices him in his cubicle with ear buds in, mouthing the words of that very same song, and said observer rings up HR instanter, and this poor sap gets hauled off to Dictionary Camp, where they have “thumbscrews, n. an instrument of torture for crushing the thumbs.”
The point is obviously not to defend this white boy wannabe and his aesthetic choices—but rather to point out the howling inconsistency of giving a black rapper a Grammy for his song, and then ruining the life of some poor schlub for singing along with it.
And neither is the point to change the subject away from women, but rather to illustrate the tactic. It is used in multiple arenas. It is used on us all the time. More people ought to have noticed.
So here’s another one, closer to our point. Suppose we have a cute college sophomore who came under the dark influence of some creative writing teacher at Leviathan State. As a result she posted to Instagram that she, despite being “so nervous,” had decided to “go for it.” This announcement was accompanied by a photo of her with a scorpion tattooed on her right cheekbone. Now suppose further that her cousin, a guy from rural Wyoming, commented with something like, “That looks terrible. What’d you do that for?”
Can anybody write the rest of this story for me? Yes. Every last one of you can write the rest of the story for me. She will be buried under an avalanche of affirmation (“so brave,” “just be yourself, girl,” “proud to call you my friend,” “stunning,” “so gorgeous and sexy,” and that is all before we get to the outlandish compliments). And he will most certainly find himself under a cascading torrent of abuse (“why I left the effin’ church,” “pharisaic pig,” “waste of skin,” “total gink,” and “if he has kids, then somebody should call CPS”)
Some people may have spoken uncharitably about a strict English teacher they once had who was a “grammar nazi.” But these people are the genuine article. They are the grammar gestapo, with the caps and everything. They claim absolute authority over all language, down to the pronouns and articles (it is apparently now bad to say “the French”), and this usurped authority includes the authority to write waivers for protected classes, and to issue summary judgments of condemnation if the culprit is straight, white, and male. Finding myself in this latter category, and determined not to cooperate with a single jot, tittle, or bit of this foolishness, I now find that I have a drawer full of unpaid citations. They keep writing them, and I keep ignoring them. The plan is to ignore them.
And so if some federal functionary, like the guy who wants to ban the gas stove we just bought for our new house, decides to go further and outlaw all uses of the n-word by any person or persons of Northern European descent, you can bet good money that the very next lecture of mine that will go up on Canon+ will be In Praise of Huckleberry Finn.
But as they came to the east end of the village they met a barrier with a large board saying NO ROAD; and behind it stood a large band of Shirriffs with staves in their hands and feathers in their caps, looking both important and rather scared . . . ‘This is what it is, Mr. Baggins,’ said the leader of the Shirriffs, a two-feather hobbit: ‘You’re arrested for Gate-breaking, and Tearing up of Rules, and Assaulting Gate-keepers, and Trespassing, and Sleeping in Shire-buildings without Leave, and Bribing Guards with Food’ . . . ‘I can add some more, if you’d like it,’ said Sam. ‘Calling your Chief Names, Wishing to punch his Pimply Face, and Thinking you Shirriffs look a lot of Tom-fools.’
The Lord of the Rings
Stirring, isn’t it? Yes, the evangelical elites reply. Stirring if it stays within the pages of a book. I don’t mean to pick on English departments today, but if the head of such a department at some soft Christian college has a bumper sticker that says “Not All Who Wander Are Lost,” and the background of the bumper sticker is decorated with stardust, and the driver of this particular Volvo thinks my language here is intemperate, injudicious, and unbecoming a Christian minister, then what we are actually dealing with is a cowardly refusal to read the situation. And I don’t care if he is published and has tenure. I don’t care if he is a two-feather hobbit.
But I still need to get to the basic mechanism of this strategy of mine. Give me a minute.
This ungodly control of the dictionary did not happen overnight. It happened gradually, in stages, over the course of a couple of centuries. There were many intermediate steps, but the two big ones were 1. ceding authority for acceptable public discourse to feminine sensibilities, followed by 2. the radical corruption of said feminine sensibilities. The resultant approach to “feminism” has resulted in an editorial board for our New Dictionary that is simultaneously sanctimonious and vile. They are sanctimonious about what others may say, and vile in what they reserve to themselves.
The sanctimony is the remaining inheritance from the Victorian era when women gained authority over public discourse, and the vileness is the result of the women in that role being corrupted. Power corrupts, Lord Acton taught us, and we see it here. It began by putting the women in charge of excluding uncouth behavior from the men, and is ending with the women having a free license to be as vile as they want themselves—take your average female stand-up comedienne as an example—while retaining the authority to write waivers for any groups who are engaged in the same task they are, which is the dismantling of Western civilization.
But feminine sensibilities are not the standard, Scripture is. Refined feminine sensibilities are not the standard, Scripture is. Polluted feminine sensibilities are not the standard, Scripture is.
Come, you spiritsMacbeth Act 1, scene 5, 38–43
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe topful
Of direst cruelty!
When Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to unsex her in this way, the result is not an era of mutual tolerance and acceptance, along with equal pay for equal work—at long last. No, the consequence of this move is murder and tyranny. Athaliah may have begun her career as an empathetic abuse victim counselor, but she ended it by murdering all the seed royal (2 Kings 11:1). When women quit wanting to be sweethearts and bakers of pies the alluring rhetoric is that they should be allowed to be high-powered executives in heels, side by side with the successful men, and that does happen in the transitional phase, and in the propaganda. But the final chapter will be the haunt of valkyries, harpies, and banshees. Remember all the women in the Daleiden videos.
So my strategy is this. It is the divine art of not caring about their ramshackle system of ethics. The only authority they have comes from people still caring what they think, and I don’t care what they think. But it goes a little bit further than that. It is not just a matter of not caring what they think. It is also important to be visibly seen as not caring what they think. So when I know that a certain mode of expression has been put off limits by them, then I am going to make a decided point of using that mode of expression.
When they establish a no-fly zone, guess where my little Cessna is going to go. And if they luckily happen to overlap their no-fly zone with God’s no-fly zone, guess where that plane is not going to go. In other words, there are things that could be said that would offend all the feminists, but would also offend God. Never do that. Offending feminists is not the standard—that bar is way too low. If you want examples there, a short tour of the secular manosphere will turn up plenty of examples.
Disobeying them is still possible because they do not yet have full enforcement authority. They want it desperately, and they have a goodly amount of it, but it is not complete yet. But a great deal of their growing enforcement authority comes from the fact that well-behaved evangelicals police themselves with these alien standards, and some evangelicals try to police other believers—as though Emily Post were still alive, and that dear old Emily, like our current arbiters of taste, had also lost her mind.
One of their central dogmas is that women as women must not be subjected to pastoral directives from men. They believe that “patriarchal” pastoral care for women is by definition abusive. This is the misogynistic patriarchy that they want to smash. It does not matter to them that men have been ordained by God to speak the Word in His name to all His saints, and that this would include the women. You cannot speak to the abortion issue because you are a man. You cannot speak to the issues of feminine modesty because you are a man. You cannot speak to the issue of spousal abuse because you are a man.
Where does this nonsense end? You cannot speak to the issue of a woman becoming a man because you are . . . wait . . .
Just a Little Bit of Game Film
Okay, okay, I’ll show you one. It is not one of the scarier ones, and we can treat it like we are watching some sort of game film.
The first thing to note is the importance of broader context. The quote was from an attack on how we manipulate images of sexual desirability via a Mr. Potato Head photo shop approach, and it was a metaphor critiquing the comparable superficiality of modern evangelical worship. The second thing to notice is what they removed from the quote without indicating that they had removed anything. They removed “no, I don’t mean check out” in order to reverse the meaning of what was going on. Third, they enlarged the font at certain designated places with silicon implants in order to garner the same kind of prurient attention the lady on the magazine cover was seeking. Fourth, these people love to do what they do anonymously, which means that they appear to be ashamed of their work. I always have my name attached to what I do. And last, they did all this in order to do the very same thing that I was doing, which was to use striking language in order to draw attention to something they objected to, thus vindicating a tactic that we both apparently use.
This is one where they used a smiling image of me, which all works out, because I think they are funny.
Someone is sure to push back with something this. The problem, they will say, is that “you used the word boobs. That is why they are so upset, and you have to admit that your sainted grandmother would also be upset.” Yes, but they would be upset for completely different reasons. My grandmother, if she were upset, and incidentally she might not have been, would have been upset over a simple breach of decorum. These people are upset that I am challenging their right to enthrone a demented decorum that will enslave us all.
Their issue is not the word at all. They write waivers for that kind of thing all the time. Rerun the scenario of scorpion girl again, only this time she got the tattoo on one of her breasts, and she used the word boob to announce it. Everything would still play out just the same way. Her defenders would all be the same people, and the attackers of her cousin would still turn the comments section into a river of lava.
And imagine, if you will, the sweetest Christian in the world, one who never used an edgy word in his life, putting up a post to the effect that as spring was in the air, it occurred to him that we ought to encourage all the sisters to be a bit more mindful of the clothes they wear, urging them strive for a little more modesty this year. Lo, another river of lava. The thing that is actually taboo is not the language, but is rather the criticism of women by a man.
No, it is not my use of the words themselves that drives them crazy. Their standards are way lower than mine. If they and I were ever to watch the same movie on Netflix, I would use VidAngel and they wouldn’t. It is the fact that I reject their authority, fully and completely. But the words I choose are indirectly related to it, in that they are my means for telegraphing that I know they have clearly forbidden me to do what I am doing.
There are women who work their sexuality because of deep emotional troubles—women like Brittany, and we should just leave her alone. There are women who work it because of simple wantonness—like Madonna, who is about to launch her sex in your sixties tour. There are women who use the fact of their sex for simple political advantage—like Hillary, who plays almost exclusively with male counters, acting like one of the boys.
But then we come to the theme of this post—which would be women who flaunt their sexuality in such a way as to defy “the patriarchy” to say or do anything about it. This would be things like the pussy hat march, or Cardi B’s celebrated song WAP. That song is so far out there . . . and the kind of people who honor and celebrate it will dare turn to me, after I have written a post defending Christian womanhood, and say, “Sirrah, we would remind thee that ladies are present.” We command you, in the name of all that is decent, to stop speaking to us in the name of the Lord.
But I decline. Upon reflection, I refuse. I turn down the request. Let me think about it, no.
“But still, he persisted.”