September 27, 2012

Kinnison the MCP

The Lensman series was originally written in the 1930's, before America got involved in WWII. And one thing I'm noticing is how strongly a certain ethos/attitude comes through in it.

I would call it "chivalry". A feminist would call it "male chauvinist piggery", I think.

Kinnison is quite willing to, and often does, slaughter men by the dozens or hundreds, but he never kills a woman so far as I remember. He always finds some other way to cope with her, even if she's his utter enemy.

And he's willing to do almost anything to protect a woman in danger.

That's the ethos in which I was raised. That was what was prevalent in the 1950's when I was a kid. By the time I entered college, however, I was being told something else entirely. For me to feel that way about women indicated that I was sexist and lower than a frog's hind leg.

I never lost that ethos, but I learned to hide it when I was in proper (read "leftist") company.

Treating women as if they were defenseless children isn't really good, but Kinnison doesn't do that. He eventually makes MacDougall a lensman, and sends her into combat, for instance. But the basic idea that men should cherish women and protect them, well, it runs all through this book.

I think we lost something precious when organized feminism tried to kill that idea off.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Entertainment at 11:19 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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1 Key phrase:  "tried to"   I'm raising my daughter to stand tall, shoot straight...and say "thank you" when someone holds the door for her.

And if a boy doesn't hold the door?  No second date.

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at September 27, 2012 11:48 AM (sdWdc)

2 One of my friends bounced on his first attempt at Doc Smith, "because of the misogyny". I started pointing out the ways that Dorothy and Clarissa are quickly established as smart, talented, level-headed, fully-functional human beings who can hold their heads high in a room full of Duquesnes and Kinnisons, and he mumbled something and changed the subject. He hadn't gotten that far.

He'd been so seriously infected by modern feminist redefinitions that he couldn't set them aside long enough to really look at the characters in the era the books were set in.

-j

Posted by: J Greely at September 27, 2012 12:20 PM (fpXGN)

3 Not just Clarissa, but Kinnison's daughters eventually. They are in every way superior to every human alive except their brother.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 27, 2012 01:24 PM (+rSRq)

4 Comment is becoming too long... post coming later tonight.

Posted by: Wonderduck at September 27, 2012 03:32 PM (DLZof)

Posted by: Wonderduck at September 27, 2012 06:42 PM (DLZof)

6 Feminism was hijacked by the liberals too.  It stopped being about women's equality and started being about making women sexually available to liberal men without the need for courtship or commitment, and without consequences like children.

Posted by: Mauser at September 28, 2012 02:13 AM (cZPoz)

7 At a basic level, the "male protection of women" instinct runs so deep inside men, especially in the West, that it's the single biggest reason women shouldn't be in front line combat.  So it not showing up, especially in an older work, would be slightly strange.

But it's not as if women don't still want the protective treatment.  They just want it from men they find attractive.  Which is a problem since we've made most of the boys act far more like girls for the past 30ish years.  That's much of the trouble.

And while a lot of old works would definitely ruffle feathers these days, it more tends to be due to hitting far closer to reality than we like to openly state these days.  When the writer has never encountered the "Women are equal to Men, unless things go bad" nonsense, they will tend to write their characters rather differently.

Though the real problem with older literature is what I like to called the "Progenitor Effect".  Work of fiction X was the first, but many have refined and improved on the concept since.  You end up being left simply expecting more from it.  Though I'm also the person that finished reading "Nightfall" and asked "why'd they edit the last few paragraphs?".  (Given some of my other comments on classic literature, I might just be overly effected by hype, haha)

Posted by: sqa at September 28, 2012 03:15 AM (OJQsT)

8 I bet the typical modern leftists finds the books' forthright idea that you should deal with enemies of civilization by, gasp, killing them. . . alien, too.  Especially in the beginning, when they are fighting "pirates."

Posted by: metaphysician at September 28, 2012 05:14 AM (3GCAl)

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