Posted on | March 15, 2014 | 93 Comments
Mary Daly (October 16, 1928 – January 3, 2010) was an American radical feminist philosopher, academic, and theologian. Daly, who described herself as a “radical lesbian feminist”, taught at Boston College, a Jesuit-run institution, for 33 years. Daly retired in 1999, after violating university policy by refusing to allow male students in her advanced women’s studies classes. . . .
In one of the deranged rants by anti-PIV feminist Radical Wind quoted here previously, this sentence occurs:
Women’s situation is more complex since we are oppressed by all the different classes of men who are the originators and subjects of patriarchal snooldom.
“Snooldom”? I noticed that, but figured it was a made-up nonsense word. My guess was that the writer had one of those word-blank moments, but rather than stop and look up the word she wanted, just wrote “snooldom” in the draft with the intention to go back and insert the desired noun later in editing, which she subsequently neglected to do.
My guess was wrong, however. “Snooldom” was coined by Mary Daly in her 1984 book, Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy:
Given these conditions of Stag-Nation, Elemental Shrews and Furies urgently experience the need for Re-Naming/Re-Claiming our stolen Flames, undoing the promethean theft of Fire, retrieving our ravaged desire.
The would-be preventers of this retrieval of gynergy, the ghosts/ghouls that want our movement dead, are snools. The noun snool (Scottish) means “a cringing person”. It means also “a tame, abject, or mean-spirited person” (OED). In sadosociety, snools rule, and snools are the rule. . . . Snools are sadism and masochism combined, the stereotypic saints and heroes of the sadostate. . . .
Snools appear and re-appear in various forms. . . . Among the henchmen required for the smooth operation of fixocracy are the cocks, danglers, pricks, and flashers who keep girls and women intimidated. Necessary also are the fakes, framers, frauds and hucksters whose job is to manufacture and spread delusions. Heavier work is assumed by rakes, hacks, rippers and plug-uglies. . . .
Such, then, are the rulers/snoolers of snooldom, the place/time where the air is filled with the crowing of cocks, the joking of jocks, the droning of clones, the sniveling of snookers and snudges, the noisy parades and processions of prickers. Such is cockocracy/jockocracy, the State of supranational, supernatural erections. . . .
What is this nonsense? It resembles the “word salad” of schizophrenics, and any reader can be forgiven for suspecting that Mary Daly was one of the first feminists to discover that Women’s Studies is a license to steal: Get yourself a tenured professorship, find a publisher, submit a 300-page manuscript crammed with absurdities, and nobody cares!
Any book published by a tenured Women’s Studies professor is automatically profitable, because she will assign it to her students, it will be favorably reviewed in feminist journals, all university libraries will order a copy, and with any luck, the book will be added to the syllabus in other Women’s Studies departments. The author will sell copies at book signings in lesbian bookstores and, if it gets any media attention at all — even an hour on C-SPAN’s “Booknotes” — you’re guaranteed to sell 5,000-10,000 copies this way.
Years ago, when I worked at The Washington Times, I acquired quite a collection of feminist books from the “discard” table where editors of the book-review section left the books they didn’t want to keep. One of those feminist tomes was Mary Daly’s 1998 book, Quintessence… Realizing the Archaic Future: A Radical Elemental Feminist Manifesto. There are no words strong enough to describe how unspeakably wretched this book is. In this, however, it does not differ from anything else Mary Daly ever wrote. One of the few serious attempts to analyze Daly’s weird gibberish was Mary F. Rousseau’s review of Pure Lust, which included this:
The book is an instance of what it seems to recommend — new perceptions and judgments, expressed in a new language. It seems indeed, to be its author’s self-portrait. . . .
But the operative word is seems. For after a careful reading of more than 400 pages of Joycean word-play, this reviewer remains unsure of several of its main points. Words which have several different meanings are used in all of their meanings at once, often with intricate efforts to link all of the meanings of a word to the agenda of radical feminism. As often as not, entirely new meanings are assigned to words and new words are coined.
Applying the phrase “Joycean word-play” to Mary Daly’s writing involves an unnecessary insult to James Joyce. It is more apt to compare Daly to the “Beat” writers of the 1950s and ’60s, Jack Kerouac or Allen Ginsberg, except that their bohemian rebellion against bourgeois convention did not presume to represent a philosophy or political ideology. Daly’s method can only be explained as an expression of Sloth, Greed and Pride — having once become known as a “feminist author,” after publishing The Church and the Second Sex in the radical year 1968, she had found her market niche, which she felt obligated to continue exploiting with a new book every five years or so thereafter. However, her paucity of ideas and her unwillingness to do actual research led Daly to the crucial insight that consumers of radical feminist books didn’t really care about facts or logic or coherent argument. No, the feminist readership consists of disgruntled misfits who want someone to give voice to their inchoate rage.
My theory, then, is that Mary Daly discovered she could write books by spending a few hours a week sitting in front of a word-processor, probably with a supply of whiskey and ice near at hand, typing any kind of stream-of-consciousness nonsense that popped into her head. So long as her rants were aimed at the phallocratic patriarchy, and invoked the celebration of radical liberated womanhood, the incoherent nature of Daly’s prose was actually a feature, not bug. No one could refute her “arguments,” because no one could make sense of them.
And if any critic dared to point out the obvious truth — that Mary Daly was just an ugly woman whose anger toward men involved a large measure of sour-grapes rationalization — well, MISOGYNIST!
As a racket, then, radical feminism is a perfect hustle for any lazy writer fortunate enough to obtain an academic sinecure. As a philosophy that presumes to explain how the world operates, however, it is a useless dead end, a one-way ticket to Bedlam.
Regular readers will therefore not be surprised to learn that anti-PIV fanatic Radical Wind is a major Mary Daly fangirl:
Women by contrast are dispossessed from all the words necessary to name and therefore conceive of our condition — this is one of men’s most deadly weapons against women’s liberation. As Mary Daly says, “Women have had the power of naming stolen from us. We have not been free to use our own power to name ourselves, the world, or God.” (Beyond God the Father: Towards a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation (1973), p.8). Radical feminists are cursed with this invisible distorting lens, men’s false reality separating us from the world and from ourselves, the meaning of our words doomed to never reach our recipients — we may repeat the truth of the atrocities again and again but so erased and reverted is our reality that even to get women to glimpse a modicum of men’s oppression and understand that men’s violence against us is not a victimless crime, may take years.
In other words, if feminist arguments don’t make sense, if they fail to persuade women that they are victims of oppression, this is not the fault of feminists. No, blame the patriarchy, which “dispossessed” women of the language they need to describe their “condition.”
[I]f we talk of popularity in terms of numbers, it isn’t difficult to see that the vast majority of women in the radical feminist community, especially those who have written and influenced current feminism, are not male-essentialist. As bloggers and regular commenters, including those who left, we’re just a handful, probably around 8-9 women, and the only published essentialist writers I know of are Mary Daly and Sonia Johnson. That’s two. Sonia Johnson, who in order to have her work published uncensored, self-publishes, and Mary Daly, whose immense philosophical work is often discounted as merely spiritual, and her essentialism is rarely if ever discussed seriously in radfem work.
— Jan. 29, 2014
I’ve finally figured something out. That we’re not supposed to be angry against women, as in, our anger against women is purely manufactured by men. And if we are angry, we’re angry against the male colonisation in her, not really her, though what happens is that we confuse it with the woman and hit on her instead.
This ‘embedded maleness’ or ‘incarnate male presence’ as Mary Daly called it, are insidious male ideologies that men have hammered into our psyche, like an anti-personnel landmine fastened inside us which explodes in contact of other women, so that women turn against us, instead of turning against men and feeling sorry or compassion for the pitiable state that men have put us in.
— Dec. 18, 2013
As Mary Daly says in Pure Lust, apparent microshifts in consciousness have the power to bring macrochanges in our reality, in women’s world and possibly the universe. The power yielded by moving ourselves and other women along with us is incredible. This is what I understand by the physics, or metaphysics of liberation — meta because it isn’t just a physical process, it transcends the physical realm. It reunites our male-fragmented parts and reintegrates ourselves to natural life movement.
— Oct. 16, 2013
Men have made science to be full of endnotes, dead-talk, lies and boredom. I will never thank Mary Daly enough for coining the word “academentia”. They are not interested in the truth, but interested in concocting fake evidence to support their lies and propaganda against women, to legitimise their totalitarian regime and political agenda of destroying the universe. . . .
One thing I’ve noticed is that one reason why writing felt so much like a chore is that the process was separated from the ends. Men focus everything on an end product, which is a dead object, a finished object, a square frame. It is very much based on ejaculation, or perhaps male notion of extinction. I read that from Mary Daly in Gynecology more than a year ago and she formulated this in a way I hadn’t really found words for. It’s not living work. University essay-writing was all about deadlines, dead ends. This is deeply alienating.
— April 13, 2013
So, science is a male conspiracy, “concocting fake evidence . . . against women,” as part of a “political agenda of destroying the universe,” and if women find writing a chore, this is because the idea of writing as a “finished object” is “based on ejaculation.”
Unnngh. Unnngh. Unnngh.
There — I’ve finished. Was it good for you? Now, fix me a sandwich.