Two Facts

[Content Note: Misogyny; patriarchy.]

1. David Brooks is still being employed by the New York Times to write a garbage column.

2. This week's garbage column is like a trophy to garbage.

You really have to read the whole thing, including his extended opening waxing romantic about the John Wayne movie The Searchers, to fully comprehend the scope of the garbagosity of his latest masterwank on the plight of male unemployment, because I'm only going to quote two bits:
The definitive explanation for this catastrophe has yet to be written. Some of the problem clearly has to do with changes in family structure. Work by David Autor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that men raised in fatherless homes, without as many immediate masculine role models, do worse in the labor force. Some of the problem probably has to do with a mismatch between boy culture and school culture, especially in the early years.

But, surely, there has been some ineffable shift in the definition of dignity. Many men were raised with a certain image of male dignity, which emphasized autonomy, reticence, ruggedness, invulnerability and the competitive virtues. Now, thanks to a communications economy, they find themselves in a world that values expressiveness, interpersonal ease, vulnerability and the cooperative virtues.
Ha ha that sounds familiar! Except I'm not so daft invested in the Patriarchy as to misidentify as "dignity" that which is actually a rigid definition of binary gender performance that steals every human, irrespective of hir gender, of hir complex and complete humanity. That is: The complete opposite of dignity.
Surely, part of the situation is that many men simply do not want to put themselves in positions they find humiliating.
This is a particularly interesting observation, given that Brooks' "communications economy" is really a service economy. And women are entrained to serve, while men (at least privileged men, which are the only ones about whom Brooks gives a shit) are entrained to be served, so naturally taking a service job after the Patriarchy has assured you your whole life that you are entitled to service, to be expected to provide it instead, is humiliating.

Women, on the other hand, who have long filled service roles, while patriarchal forces conspired to keep women out of manufacturing, construction, and other traditionally "male" jobs, are not meant to find that work humiliating, but instead the natural outgrowth of a biological imperative.

As Erik Loomis notes here, the terrible irony is that the offshoring of traditionally "male" jobs is thanks to the politics of conservatives like Brooks: "The reason why male employment hasn't recovered is because the jobs men used to have no longer exist. That the 20th century economy was inherently sexist cannot be questioned. Men had industrial jobs that became high paying after decades of union organization. The middle-class of salesmen, middle managers, etc., was also dominated by men. Women were in service positions. Now you tell me, which jobs still exist in the United States in 2013? ...What remains is a service economy, with jobs long defined as female. Housekeeping, nursing, child care, entry level office work, Wal-Mart—these are jobs that are available."


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