"Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom?" –Marvin Martian

50 Shades of Stupid

I’ll bite. In response to this line from Jared: “Or, instead of insisting they mean the opposite of what he says he meant by them, why not just call him a liar?” Okay, Doug Wilson is a liar, lying. He is probably lying to himself as much as anyone, but he’s lying.

Words mean things objectively. Our subjective intentions are important, but they do not normally override the meanings of the words we use. To play word games after the fact does not change the meaning of the words Doug Wilson used. Conquer and colonize are words of aggression, used aggressively. The context is important: “…however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage.” The aggression of that paragraph does not rest on the word “conquer” alone; it is the entire theme:
– The sex act does not involve equal pleasure (aka “an egalitarian pleasuring party”)
– The man initiates, using metaphors for war: invading, defeating, and settling. (aka “penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants”)
– The woman lies back and things of England, using words normally associated with the French (aka cheese-eating surrender monkeys)
– Negative reception is assumed and labeled proactively: It’s egalitarians who choose to be offended at perfectly obvious inoffensive statements, and are rebelling against Holy Scripture

This is not because of one or two words. It’s the central point of Doug Wilson’s thesis.

Ultimately, this hinges on people viewing the world differently. If you’re a white male whose biggest fears include poor book sales, being kicked out of another denomination, or having to admit you were wrong about something, it is hard to understand things in the same way as someone whose fears reasonably and routinely include rape, physical abuse, and being ignored, dismissed, and accused of hysteria by the very people who should be looking out for you. If Doug Wilson (or Jared) understood that much, at least, one of them might have realized that using “protect and serve” to conjure up images of the police is not as reassuring to the aggrieved audience as they might suppose.

I don’t impugn the motives of either Wilson in writing what they’ve written, but they’re still wrong. As evidence, consider the responses of these humble men of God when confronted with the news that their words have caused pain to women who’ve read them. Actually, Jared asks the question thusly: “What if you published a post that was for sexuality that serves and protects and against “rape fantasy” erotica/role-playing and lots of people found it horrifying and sickening?” My answer: I would be horrified and apologetic, and scramble to remove the horrifying and sickening post as quickly as possible, replacing it with an apology while I spent time trying to educate myself on how they and I could see things so differently.

Of course, that’s not what either Wilson has done. Doug Wilson instead responds by:
– pretending that poetic references to a necklace as “bucklers” and a woman’s very young virginal sister as a “garden locked” somehow equate to his not-poetic militaristic description of sex
– referring to his critics as “Only a person with a poetic ear like three feet of tin foil…” while engaging in over-the-top hyperbolic descriptions of his critics views
– says they “really need to retake their ESL class”
– refers to a “mental caricature of a conservative complementarian,” because, you know, it’s his *critics* who are relying on caricatures, not Wilson himself. (*cough* “egalitarian pleasuring party”*cough*)

In other words, Doug Wilson claims his critics are stupid, and that’s why they think the way they do.

Jared responds by writing a post arguing that since his intentions weren’t what his critics apparently believe them to be, they’ve got it all wrong. The fact that his critics didn’t interpret three longer paragraphs in the context of the smaller last paragraph is “quite telling.” In fact, they have an “ability to ignore” that, or were “[u]nable to connect” them.

Again with the implied “stupid” label.

It seems Jared believe he is a victim. Not a victim in the sense of many of the people most upset by his writing, people who’ve actually had to call the cops to “serve and protect” them from aggressive men who would use their “biblical authority” as an excuse to mistreat them, but a victim nonetheless. Approvingly quoting a contentious pastor using what are at best poorly-chosen words to make a point very poorly and finding that “someone keeps finding that sickening, horrifying, deplorable,” well, yeah, I guess that’s bewildering.

Jared: I am telling you this directly: You ask for emails and state “I will be grateful for the sharpening” I call bullshit. Attempts to “sharpen” you so far have been met with incredulity, sarcasm, and dismissal, not gratitude. You’re lying to yourself, and I hope and pray you’re able to see it sooner rather than later.