Via Jeremy’s twitter feed (whose blog Social Science Lite is a must-read) is this post over at Daily Mathematics by “Blackneck”, arguing for some sort of legalized prostitution. Which normally wouldn’t be worth commenting on, since these sorts of arguments are a dime a dozen. Obviously though, I’m commenting on Blackneck’s argument, which suggests that there’s something novel about it. And, as it so happens, there is:
Last week, this dude, George Sodini, went apeshit in a Pittsburgh LA Fitness health club and shot up the joint, killing 3 women before murking himself. News of his blog rantings about his problems and planned “shoot ‘em up” spread like crazy on the internets and old media systems. The running theory is that he’s a little crazy and was pissed at women for not giving him any ass. I’m thinking the problem was that he was just plain batshit, but let’s run with the no sex angle.
The reason this dude didn’t get any of that nook-nook is sort of a chicken and egg question: -Did dude not get any ass because he was crazy? I know women have a great sense of intuition and the fact that he had the propensity to go Columbine might have set off women’s senses not to fuck with him. That was probably was the case with that Virginia Tech kid too… And the Columbine kids. -Or was he crazy because he didn’t get any ass? A dry spell of a few months might make a nigga flip out. But nineteen years would probably send the Pope on some Helter Skelter type shit. It’s just not natural. I don’t need to search the internets to know that there are of plenty psychological studies that show that sex depravation will drive a person crazy. Just think: old people and a house full of cats… or homeless people who mumble to themselves. Dudes who can’t get any on their own power should have unfettered access the world’s oldest profession. For those who have a medical case of not non-pussy-getting, like Sodini, there should be a public option.
I understand the argument, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous. Blackneck is wrong. George Sodini didn’t kill those women (and injure many more) because he was sex deprived. There are many – many – men (and women for that matter) who either haven’t had sex, or haven’t had it in a long time. If sex deprivation were really that terrible, we would see many more killings of the kind witnessed last week. Let’s be clear. George Sodini killed those women because they were women. It’s abundantly clear, from his blog and from his journals, that Sodini harbored a deep-seated hatred towards women, and sex happened to be the lens through which he focused those hatreds. And judging from the intensity of Sodini’s hate, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that there is little that would have dimmed Sodini’s disdain and disgust for women.
All of the legalized prostitution in the world wouldn’t have stopped Sodini (and might have even intensified his hatred). To suggest otherwise – to suggest that maybe, perhaps, women do bear some of the blame for his actions – is more than a little offensive, and comes dangerously close to victim-blaming. Which isn’t terribly surprising, to be honest. We are fairly sensitive to instances of racism, kind of sensitive to classism, and absolutely tone-deaf when it comes to misogyny. Which, as Bob Herbert noted this past weekend in the New York Times, is kind of a problem when you consider that the United States is – as he puts it – “saturated with misogyny.” Blackneck’s post, well meaning as it is, is reflective of that tone deafness. If he (and I’m going to assume that Blackneck is a he) had a better grasp on the deep misogyny that permeates our society, then his solution to Sodini-types wouldn’t be to legalize prostitution in the hopes of staving off another massacre, it would be to preempt another massacre by directly addressing the rampant – and perfectly acceptable – disdain for women which permeates our mainstream discourse.
Update: Apparently Blackneck’s post was satire, and somehow (I usually notice those things), I missed that. My apologies.