Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Don't fall for the "Lumbersexual" trick

I got up and took a shower and then put on green khaki pants, a grey T-shirt and a red and black plaid shirt. I love flannel shirts. It's what I put on when I want to feel comfortable in cold weather and have done so since I first started to buy my own clothes in my teens. I like flannel. I had no idea my masculinity was in crisis.

What links the mythic lumberjack to his modern-day incarnations is a pervasive sense—in his time and ours—that masculinity is “in crisis.”
There has been a lot of criticism of "lumebrsexuals" along with some good replies to it but something else needs to be said.

How does the philosophical problem about mental processes and states and about behaviorism arise?—the first step is the one that altogether escapes notice. We talk of processes and states and leave their nature undecided. Sometime perhaps we shall know more about them - we think. But that is just what commits us to a particular way of looking at the matter... (The decisive movement in the conjuring trick has been made, and it was the very one that we thought quite innocent)

That's Wittgenstein. He's not talking about lumbersexuals. He's talking about psychology. The point he is making that as soon as you label something, you define it. You think you're doing the opposite when you say, "Well, there is some sort of psychological process going on here but I'm going to avoid defining it so as to keep an open mind."

The same trick was played with lumbersexual. Men have been growing beards for millennia and wearing flannel shirts for well over a century. Vendors such as L.L. Bean and Pendleton's owe their existence to the flannel shirt.  But, suddenly!, it's a trend and it has a label.

And once they can call you by a label, they can analyze that label. And you aren't going to win. You can't embrace the insult.

What's happening here is that the same techniques that have been used to manipulate women for decades are now being applied to men. You used to be able to dress the way you wanted. Now you are inhabiting a label and you will never feel free or justified dressing the way you want. You'll have to explain yourself and defend yourself.

"The only container that they can fill"

Elliot Hulse* made a whole lot of videos once upon a time. As he freely admits, and mocks himself for, he said "a lot of crazy shit" in some of these videos. This one, however, is pure gold. Before you click on it, a warning: Language! If your boss, child, maiden aunt, or anyone else's boss, child, maiden aunt, is within earshot, put on the headphones.

* Elliot also looks a whole lot like my dad did in his thirties.

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