Jessie Davis and the eternal mystery of wingnut thought processes

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 · 17 Comments »

I do not watch television, nor do I communicate often with other human beings (allow me to direct your attention to the name of the blog), so I am frequently unaware of whatever particular maelstrom is currently roiling the collective consciousness. For example, until recently I believed that Paris Hilton was the Hilton hotel in Paris. At any rate, that’s why I’ve just now discovered that the entire space-time continuum is aflame with the story of Jessie Davis, Dead Woman. I only know this from skimming other feminist blogs, namely Feministe and Pandagon, both of which have highlighted the bizarre wingnut reaction to the case.

At first I could not understand what was so gripping about the Jessie Davis story. A pregnant woman has been murdered by her boyfriend, the father of her children. This sort of thing happens all the time. In fact, I did a quick search on Google news and came up with these results just from the past week and a half:

June 28 — Wrestler strangled wife, suffocated son before hanging self

June 27 — Toronto man kills wife, mother-in-law

June 25 — Man kills wife, her daughter, then self

June 25 — Man kills ex-girlfriend (she was also the mother of his child)

June 22 — New Jersey man kills 2 daughters and himself

June 21 — Drunken standoff ends after man kills young son, himself

June 19 — Berkeley man, distraught over finances, kills his wife, two daughters, self

June 19 — Delco man kills wife, himself

June 19 — South Carolina man shoots wife in sheriff’s parking lot, kills self

That’s just in North America in the past 10 days. I ignored all the results from the rest of the world.

So what’s so special about the Jessie Davis story? Men are always killing their wives and girlfriends and children. It’s like falling off a log, for chrissake; apparently it just comes naturally, like buttoning your shirt to the right. Just a guy thing.

I imagine that to the non-wingnut segment of the public, this particular case is interesting because of the added pathos of the victim’s pregnancy, or because her killer — apparently also the father of the fetus — is a police officer. It’s like an episode of Law and Order.

But the wingnuts have a different issue. They have decided that the real import of this case is that Jessie Davis was a Bad Woman. The reason she got murdered was because she was an unwed mother, an immoral slut who had sex and babies outside of marriage. The implied corollary is that if women have sex and babies only with the men they’re married to, said men will not kill them.

In case you’re just now joining us from another galaxy, I invite you to give another quick glance at that list of crimes from the past 10 days. Marriage is clearly no impediment when it comes to the traditional manly sport of slaying the little woman. In fact, marriage and wife-murder are a classic duo, like ham and eggs, or bananas and peanut butter. I realize that wingnuts are very, very stupid, and that their already turbid thought processes become even further occluded whenever the misogyny synapse lights up, but even they must know that men kill their wives — their wives, their legal, lawfully-wedded, officially-sanctioned, non-living-in-sin wives — all the goddamn time. It’s in the news every fucking week. Remember Scott Peterson? Jesus Christ, even I know about the Peterson case, and I thought Paris Hilton was a hotel.

Nevertheless, wingnuts insist that if only Jessie Davis had chosen a different “lifestyle,” she wouldn’t be dead. In a sense they’re right, of course, since if she had organized her life so that she would be spared any contact whatsoever with male humans — if, perhaps, she’d donned a HAZMAT suit and gone to live permanently in a hermetically sealed underground cave, or perhaps built herself a spaceship and escaped planet Earth — her chances of being murdered would have been less. This, I note, is true for us all. But I don’t think that’s what the wingnuts mean.

The consensus on the feminist blogs seems to be that what’s really winding up the nuts is the fact that Jessie Davis was white and her killer, the father of her children and therefore a man with whom she had probably had sex, was black. The unspoken (or semi-unspoken, or spoken-into-one’s-hand-while-making-a-coughing-noise) premise is that killing your wife or girlfriend is something only black men do to white women, and since Jessie should have known this, the conclusion again is that it’s her fault she’s dead.

I hardly need point out that the racist thing suffers from the same logical infelicity as the living-in-sin argument, namely that it’s horseshit. Again, I refer you to the list of murders just from the past 10 days. And I could be wrong, but I don’t think Scott Peterson is secretly black. But obviously, making sense is not a big priority with wingnuts. Blaming women for whatever happens to them (getting themselves raped, getting themselves murdered) is one of their favorite pastimes, right up there with musing over the general horribleness of black people. Any Two Minute Hate that manages to combine both is bound to be doubly thrilling. Who needs logic?

It occurs to me that the pressure inside the braincases of these people must be absolutely immense. Years and years of accumulated cognitive dissonance has probably built up a level of pressure that would, I don’t know, turn oxygen into metal or something. Why don’t their heads explode? I bet if we made tiny little holes in their skulls, they would start spewing like champagne bottles. If you did it right you could probably make them fly up and spin around in the air like bottle rockets. Could be fun for Fourth of July.

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17 Responses to “Jessie Davis and the eternal mystery of wingnut thought processes”

  1. B. Dagger Lee says:

    I, too, think trepanning would be helpful. Back to basics.

    As for the killings: classic Melanie Klein.

    -BDL

  2. Violet says:

    I haven’t read Klein, but I’m not a big fan of Freudianism in general. Aside from the fact that Freud himself was a clueless misogynist and a quack, the whole discipline seems hopelessly parochial. It mistakes patriarchal society — and middle-class western patriarchal society at that — for the universal human condition, and then proceeds on that shaky empirical basis to make sweeping claims about how the human pysche is organized.

    I think misogyny is learned behavior. I’m suspicious of any theory that talks about rejecting breasts and so forth as the cause of misogyny among men. What no Freudian seems to realize is that there are societies on earth that are not patriarchal or misogynist and where men do not despise women. What happened to those men? Weren’t they weaned too? And there were even more societies like that in the distant past; some anthropologists now believe that the primeval human culture was virtually genderless.

    Of course I may just be a pie-eyed optimist. If misogyny is inevitable in men, then we need our own planet.

  3. Infidel says:

    You think Dr.Violet Socks needs therapy? Yeah right, because she just doesn’t fit in with the social structures and can’t adjust to the way things are. Marc would have her jolted w/ ect until her memories of bad things were gone and her fear of more treatment would render her passive and submissive so she might allow her anus to be penetrated. Bravo Marc, there is plenty of shame in just being part of humanity, we know this, or we don’t. We care, or we don’t give a shit. We speak up or we keep silent. Anyways you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall, and my existance, though grotesque, is something you couldn’t do without, so I would appreciate it if you just thanked me and let it be.

  4. Infidel says:

    http://www.siue.edu/~jvotsmi/votsdocs/Few_Good_Men.pdf

  5. Violet says:

    Oh, hey, Infidel, sorry about that — I deleted Marc’s comments before realizing that you’d replied to him. I’ve never been able to figure out how to undelete comments, or I’d put it back so your reply would make sense.

    That Marc person is pathetic — he keeps posting the same things, sending me emails, etc. I think I’ve already banned him once but he found another computer to use.

  6. Marc says:

    Infidel murders happen. Men women and children are sadly murdered by men women and (sometimes) children. Only a small percentuage of the population commits murder. If you call murder a boys thing because men commit murder, then, by that very same logic, it is a girls thing as well, since women commit murder too.
    Taking a small percentuage of men to get herself in a man hate rage tells me she is grasping at straws to find justifications to hate men.
    What has a therapy to overcome her hatetred and prejudice against half of the earths population to do with beeing submissive ?
    Violet I never sent you any email. I dont know what hating men gives you, but I hope it works for you .

    good luck.

  7. Infidel says:

    Marc,
    “percent” means for every one hundred. There are very many “one hundred”s in the human population of earth. How many? I don’t know, do the math.

  8. Marc says:

    Of course with a population of 300 million (usa) a small percentuage results in a maximum of 10.000 murderes each year if we assume one murder for each victim. What are you trying to say ? I dont see how it makes murder a guys thing or a girls thing. I cant recall any time me or somebody I know went off doing the “guy thing”.

  9. Infidel says:

    Remember when BinLaden did, remember when Adolph had his way, remember Pharoah, remember all the power in mens hands to determine and implement policy. Remember the Popes and the Generals, and the Shahs, and the Imams, The Kings, remember heroes- what percent of military heroes, sports heroes, political heroes, that influence social norms and acceptable treatment of human beings are male? What influences a society to kill? Only individuals are influenced to kill? Are church leaders men? Usually? Are political leaders globally men? Usually? What percent? Whos at fault? Who has the power? Why do we kill? Why do we ask? Yes women kill. No, all women should be hated for the actions of a few. One bad apple shouldn’t spoil the whole bunch. Who are the Rock Stars? did a woman come to mind? You can name some, but you can name more men. Who are the Pilots, who are the astronauts, who are the philosophers, who are the composers, who are the sculptors, who are the inventors, who are the authors. Is it me? I sure can name some Women in those catagories of fame, but mostly movie stars. Is it me? Half the population, Marc, says. Is it half the power? Is it half the onus? What have we done to these women that made them kill their children? One wonders. The men who killed their offspring and lovers, and wives and themselves just seem to have done a crazy manly sort of thing.

  10. Infidel says:

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/gender.htm

  11. Violet says:

    Infidel, there’s no point actually talking to this guy. He’s just a moron who’s looking for attention. His IP addresses look like some hacker site in Italy. Ignore him.

  12. Infidel says:

    “In fact, I did a quick search on Google news and came up with these results just from the past week and a half:…”

    Sometimes I don’t like this world so much. Then I’m ashamed of my contempt. I guess it’s healthy though.

  13. mAndrea says:

    Dr. Socks, with all due respect, I don’t believe men, in general, are ever going to give up the sexism. Perhaps I am overly simplistic, but here’s one of the reasons I think this:

    Man has a lust for power. Is this inherent, or is this learned?

    Man has a lust for sex. Is this inherent, or is this learned?

    AFAIK, there is a concensus that the sex drive is inherent. I believe the lust for power, the desire to have more resouces than other people, or at least the willingness to work and scheme and control other people in order to obtain more resources, is inherent. The degree of those drives rests on a continuum.

    The intersection of those two drives is sexism. Am I way off base here? You are obviously an extremely intelligent person, most likely far smarter than myself. (No, I’m not trying to suck up. :)) What am I missing?

    I’d really like to know, as this has been bugging me for awhile. If you decide to reply, thank you in advance.

  14. Violet says:

    mAndrea, I’m no sage, so I can only give you my opinion. My answer is that a sexist culture is only one way of organizing human life. It’s the most common way nowadays, obviously, and has been for some time. But it’s not the only way. I say that because we know from anthropology that there are other social systems: systems that emphasize gender equality, systems that work to maintain an equal balance between men and women, systems that teach men to respect women.

    Human nature is, as you say, marked by selfish drives. It’s culture that contains those drives, that teaches us not to murder or steal or harm, though no one denies that people still have those impulses and too often act on them.

    In a sexist culture like ours, men’s selfish imuplses with regard to women are not contained. They are actually encouraged. Males are conditioned from birth to think of women as inferiors and as commodities. But not all cultures are or have been like this. For example, we think of rape as being something that men will always do, but in gender equal cultures, rape is comparatively rare.

    One of the things I keep meaning to do is to make a blog category for discussions on non-patriarchal cultures. I think there’s a greater need than ever for people to be aware of how much of our behavior is culturally mediated rather than innate. As global civilization becomes more and more homogenous, cultural diversity is vanishing. Countless matriarchal societies have vanished just in the past few centuries, and the few that are left are almost certainly doomed. People look around and all they see is the same world full of TV and pornography and Coca-cola, a world ruled by men. It makes it easier to believe that patriarchy is innate, that male dominance is innate, that men everywhere have always ruled women and always will.

    But it’s not true. Patriarchy is neither universal nor inevitable. Obviously male dominance is a very common form of human culture, but it’s not the only one. And I think anthropology shows that a culture that actively stresses a gender-equal system can contain male impulses to dominate women.

  15. mAndrea says:

    Dr. Socks, thanks for replying. This has been bothering me a great deal, and I was afraid you were going to think I was trolling; or at the very least that you wouldn’t appreciate being bothered by random people dropping by with random questions. So thank you again for responding.

    From reading you on previous occassions, you seem extremely intelligent and knowledgable to me, an well as exhibiting a high ability to think about painful things calmly and complex things simply. That is really excellent! I don’t think that’s normal. lol

    I don’t want to be rude, or force my opinion onto others. It just seems as if feminists in general do not want to even examine certain theoretical premises too closely, out of a fear that those premises might be wrong. I’ve heard several feminists say things like, “I couldn’t continue my activist work if I thought men would never change or if men had the potential to backslide.”

    I don’t know if you subscribe to that belief or not; it seems to be clarified and made obvious only after some amount of pointed discussion one-on-one conversations. Which I have had, I might add, repeatedly irl with various feminist activists. The process which clarifies that belief doesn’t seem to be easily done in a group setting, as there appears to be a defense mechanism which must be overcome, and the “shotgun” response directed at me from the entire group is time-consuming and frustrating for me to deal with. But I am getting better. :)

    Anyway, that belief is another thing which makes no sense to me. Believing that men have an inherent desire to be sexist to some degree along a continuum AND believing that men possess a desire to be morally fair and therefore fight that sexist impetus, is not a contradiction; and I do not understand *why* feminists find it to be one. I could use some help with that.

    So, anyway! If you are willing to admit that the desire for sex and the desire for power are inherent to some degree along a continuum, then it seems logical that the intersection of those two universal desires is sexism. I hope this doesn’t sound like an attack, but you even seemed to admit that readily enough, but also seemed to mitagate that universal human drive by bringing up the existence of a few non-patriarchal cultures.

    I really don’t mean to try your patience, but I was under the impression that no statistician would attempt to argue the point that three tribes of 150 people each out of 7 billion would be anything other than an outlier?

    Now I’m changing the focus slightly, if you would allow. I may be wrong, but I believe feminists don’t like to consider the idea that men are inherently sexist is because of a false assumption. MRA’s and religious fundamentalists frequently make the comment that “that’s just the way men are”. I believe feminists assume that if they were to accept the fact that men are inherently sexist to one degree or another, that women would just have to tolerate sexist behaviour.

    Once again, I see no logic in that assumption. It is morally unethical to subjegate a human being for any reason, let alone “because I want to” or “because I can”. To use those as valid reasons is to admit that men are little more than animals without ethical standards.

    The fact that men have chosen to use those excuses for more than 6000 years in almost every culture on the planet — with no end in sight, no less — should mean something to a statistician, but yet it doesn’t seem to mean anything to feminists. They always think I’m merely ranting, or something. :/

    Not sure if you’re interested in continuing, but there is another discussion point which follows naturally from this, but again, I don’t mean to try your patience.

  16. mAndrea says:

    Sorry that was so long, I’m afraid I’ll get labeled a crackpot now. lol

  17. Violet says:

    mAndrea, sorry your comments have been hung up in moderation. They came in during the Bad Times and at least they’re still there!

    I need to take issue with a couple of your points before we move on to the next idea, but this might not be the day for that. It’s a serious subject, one I care about, and I need to be in thoughtful mode. But it’s been a rough week and right now I’m more in BlogWarBot mode! So I’ll come back to this soon.