Posted on | June 15, 2014 | 54 Comments
@LynnParramore has a Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from New York University. Last week, Parramore made a complete fool of herself by writing a column about a grocery store playing the Rolling Stones 1966 song “Under My Thumb”:
As I listened, I thought about how the song plays in the wake of Elliot Rodger’s killing spree, fueled, as the killer explained in a lengthy manifesto, by his rage against women and desire to control them.
We’ve been wringing our hands, asking how young men can become so hostile and eager to dominate to women. Well, isn’t it because our culture feeds them the message at every turn, even in the most mundane settings? What does it mean that degradation of half the population is considered appropriate background noise to everyday life?
In “Under My Thumb,” the singer boasts about how he’s gained control of his girl, comparing her to, among other things, a squirming dog.
The obvious objection to Dr. Parramore’s complaint is that it is a non sequitur. There is zero evidence that Elliot Rodger was motivated by song lyrics of any kind and we have no reason to believe that Rodger ever heard “Under My Thumb.” By contrast, I’ve heard the song many times and I never went on a killing spree.
Heck, I’m not even “hostile and eager to dominate to women,” despite years of exposure to the Rolling Stones and other rock-and-roll groups that specialized in that sort of strutting macho posture. Here is the opening line of of a favorite song by Bad Company:
Well, I take whatever I want
And baby, I want you.
Pretty doggone misogynistic, really, but it was just rock-and-roll. Here’s another classic favorite by Led Zeppelin:
Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move,
Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove.
Definitely some kind of sexism there, but it’s still just rock-and-roll. Contrary to Dr. Parramore’s diagnosis, listening to rock-and-roll didn’t inspire me to a “rage against women,” nor do we have any evidence that Elliot Rodger was into rock-and-roll.
Matt Welch wrote a column at Reason magazine pointing out the absurdity of Dr. Parramore’s complaint, and some people responded by saying rude things about Dr. Parramore.
A great many of the commenters degraded me as a woman, hurling insults and violent language. . . .
I suspect the rage has several sources: the impotence felt by men in a stagnant economy, the collective guilt of men and women who feel complicit in not speaking up themselves, and the old, primal fear of women having too much power, too much say. Many expressed outrage that I’m a woman with advanced academic degrees, a person who gets paid to write, a person confident enough to speak up.
The insults are a demand for silence, a return to the status quo, a warning.
You see that Dr. Parramore, having misdiagnosed Elliot Roger as a victim of rock-and-roll, now presumes to diagnose her critics as suffering from “impotence . . . collective guilt . . . primal fear.”
The alternate theory — that her stupid arguments are offensive to rock-and-roll fans — is one Dr. Parramore never even considers.