I’m Regressive, So What?

Many years ago, I was having lunch with a Brazilian writer, who is today deservedly famous and praised, when she surprised me with the affirmation that she loved “funk,” and everything related to it. For her, funk constituted an important and valuable means for women (especially in poor neighborhoods in Rio, where the genre is widely popular) to reaffirm their independence and energy, and why not, to pursue social equality.

I was appalled. I don’t know what funk is famous for in the U.S., but in Brazil, it is associated with a style of rap which actually emphasizes to the letter — I mean, to every letter in the lyrics — what people are now calling “the culture of rape.” This newly crafted slogan has spread like wildfire on social media, acquiring new and surprising meanings associated with the leftist agenda, which is struggling to prevail despite the indisputable fairness of our recent impeachment process.

“But the lyrics are so violent,” I argued at the time. “So detrimental to feminine values.”

I could not convince her then. And I honestly doubt I will be able to convince some of you of so many things I feel appalled about, maybe because I frequently manage to surprise even myself with my newly acquired, and yet progressively consistent set of conservative moral ideas.

Before we proceed, let’s finish up some thoughts about the funk… oops, the rape culture in Brazil. Last week, a 16-year-old girl appeared on a video posted somewhere (I did not watch it), naked and unconscious in a dirty bed while a mocking masculine voice off-screen said something equivalent to “Call my niggas over, and let her fuck the team” — the number of players in the team varying from five to thirty-three.

There’s no disputing the fact that something like this constitutes a moral nightmare, albeit not a rarity in that particular environment, where lots of drugs, group sex and the local equivalent to “gangsta rap” are the norm. But what was unique in this case was the speed with which supporters of the impeached Brazilian president took possession of the tragedy and immediately linked it to a “retrogressive government that did not include women in outstanding positions and is planning to cancel all social benefits.”

This is the way we have been living, I guess, in these times that can be defined as “governed by social media.” What was once the realm of educated analysis has been taken over by rushed and uninformed opinions that may “fly” or not, depending, not on the validity of the content, but on the number of followers an author has. Which certainly results in a mix-up of facts and a bastardized form of knowledge being widely accepted as truth, as fast as it “viralizes.”

Now let’s go back to a much more basic, established and dangerous reality I stumbled upon these last two weeks, as I was editing an academic book about the many forms of contemporary “paternities” (which is also the name of the book). Yes, you heard it right. The book is comprised of articles and panel texts from a psychology congress that took place last year. As the book title describes, the main focus of this congress was the variety of possible family arrangements concerning childcare in a world where gender diversity appears to be the highest value.

As in all academic writing, all analyses are based upon citations from other authors, accepted truths published in the past, leading to the conclusion that the current gender revolution took root many years ago, coinciding perhaps with the beginning of the feminist movement.

I could not oppose “untraditional” family arrangements in principle, but I was outraged by the fact that, to make this “new” kind of freedom acceptable, these authors’ main strategy is to destroy the inherent link between a mother and the care of her child in breastfeeding years. Forgive me if I repeat myself, but in this given context the mothering instinct is described as no more than a detrimental “biologism,” a dangerous line of reasoning. If we allow it, it may result in a not so distant future in the abandonment of the old (and outdated) habit of generating children through heterosexual intercourse, a fact of nature which, if I may infer so, might leave a lot of gender revolutionaries quite upset. After all, who dared to let nature rule?

A touch of some sort of twisted “feminist consciousness” is quite clear in the widely spread usage of the “his/ her” form in what simply consists of very bad writing. Women, who constitute the majority of writers in the field, are so worried about insignificant grammar details (such as the fact that plural forms in writing are usually masculine, much more so in Portuguese and Spanish) that they fail to perceive how, through their ideas and affirmations, they are not only allowing, but also encouraging the engendering of a social context in which women’s innate strengths and natural power are being utterly denied in favor of “other minorities.” Simply put, these minority groups are trying to take hold of unique biological traits as old as humanity itself in the name of I don’t know what. They call it “freedom of gender,” a concept of gender totally free from sexual determination constraints.

In one of the essays in the aforementioned book, the writer quotes a quite famous author who allegedly studied the human family across the ages, reaching the conclusion that the current preferred familial configuration (but not for long, these “social activists” sincerely hope) is not defined by nature, referring to the fact that the idea of a nuclear heterosexual monogamy as the ideal environment for raising children was only “recently” imposed. As a replacement, for example, to the medieval habit of “selling children to a guild,” not to mention the various forms of polygamy that rarely aimed at favoring women, maybe never.

Of course! This is called “evolution”!

The sad part is these theorists are very effective in affirming that something “is true of the whole based upon the fact that it is true of some part of the whole,” a learned technique called the “fallacy of composition.” In other words, this involves a situation when affirmations are taken out of their original context, which is very common in politics as well.

In the case of these brave new feminists, they are in fact being “hoisted by their own petard,” and if not yet, they will be very soon. And so will all of us, if we don’t react as fast as we can. Humanity is in danger, my friends, and I can’t figure out how some fortunate humans among us are going to benefit from all this. Unless, of course, we give free rein to wild conspiracy theories that must include the likes of “global government,” elimination of money and so on and so forth, all carefully designed to take away our individual strengths, freedom of expression and power of choice.

“Too late,” utters my husband Alan, who, while I’m writing this chronicle, has been watching a scary documentary about DARPA, “America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency,” which is also the subject of a new book that will be out next week. Alan goes on to tell me how science and behavioral research have gone too far to stop the trend in experiments that alter the human brain, including the use of “brain chips” in newborn babies and other frightening stuff.

To lump all these subjects together in the same pot can certainly be no more than a wild, alarming guess on my part, I admit. It is not different, however, from those psychological techniques that have been used to inveigle us, with the undisguised but unidentified support of the recently acquired indoctrinating power of social media.

On a personal level, I’m getting more and more acquainted with my new set of regressive beliefs, so what? And although I don’t count myself among the famous 400 writers, indisputable owners of contemporary thought and signatories of a manifest in favor of the “preservation of ethics and freedom,” among other slogans of the kind — I intended to quote directly from the petition, but for some mysterious reason, after being mentioned in an article in The New York Times, the link is not working — I can assure you that there are some brilliant minds out there whose thoughts are not so different from mine. Although, if we think about it, we might conclude that maybe “signing petitions” is not their style at all.

I will end today by sticking to meanings #one and #three for “funk” in the dictionary: (1) a strong, usually unpleasant smell; and (3) a state of depression, a bad mood, a low; to shrink in fright.

Yes, my friends. With all that is going on, I currently find myself in a funk. And just like you, I must live with it.

About the Author
Noga Sklar was born in Tiberias, Israel, in 1952. She grew up in Belo Horizonte and lived for 30 years in Rio de Janeiro, a city she left behind to take refuge in a paradise among the mountains of Petropolis. Noga met her American husband Alan Sklar in 2004, through the American Jewish dating site JDate. This meeting gave new impetus to her life and literary career, inspiring her first novel, “No degrees of separation” (to be published in English in 2016. She now lives in Greenville, SC, US, where she moved with her husband in October 2014.
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